St John brings health shuttle to the east

Ted Manson, centre, with family and St John’s volunteers and staff.

St John has started its health shuttle service in Eastern suburbs’.

John McKillop, East Auckland Health Shuttle team leader, said, “St John has around 55 Health Shuttles in New Zealand from Kaikohe to Invercargill.”

In the Auckland area, there are shuttles based in Mangere, East Tamaki, Pukekohe and Henderson.

The new health shuttle’s prime area of coverage is from Musick Point to Pakuranga, Maraetai and Ormiston.

“In conjunction with the vehicle based in Mangere, the wider South Auckland area is served,” McKillop said.

The service provides transport from its passengers’ homes to “doctor visits, dental appointments, specialist appointments, hospital day-stays for minor surgery and “any other types of health appointments”.

“This prevents people from missing essential appointments and enables them to live healthier, stronger lives,” community transport manager Stephen Robinson said.

Anyone who needs help getting to their medical appointment qualifies. “The only provision is that they need to be self-sufficient in getting to and from the shuttle vehicle,” McKillop said.

“If they need physical assistance, they need a carer with them.”

Some health shuttles have wheelchair access like the one that is to be introduced to service in east Auckland.

The driving of the health shuttles is volunteer-based. There are currently eight local drivers operating the east Auckland vehicle.

“The service is entirely dependent upon support from the community,” McKillop said.

“All vehicles have been donated.”

The east Auckland shuttle was donated by the Ted Manson Foundation. The dedication ceremony for the new vehicle was held at St John Archives in Mt Wellington on Tuesday April 13.

“We are grateful for the generosity and ongoing support of the Ted Manson Foundation,” Robinson said.

Residents who wish to make a booking for the St John Health Shuttle service in Auckland can call 0800 WAKA ORA (0800 9252 672) or visit https://www.stjohn.org.nz/what-we-do/community-programmes/health-shuttles/ for more information.