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HealthInfo Canterbury

Calling 111 for an ambulance

In a medical emergency, phone 111 and ask for an ambulance.

If you're deaf or hearing or speech impaired, you can text 0800-16-16-16, which is the emergency text number. You need to have registered online to be able to use this number. Welcome to 111 TXT on the New Zealand Police website tells you how to register online. It includes videos explaining how to register, how to use the service and how to change your registration.

If you need non-urgent St John support, phone 0800‑4‑AMBULANCE (0800‑426‑285).

Dialling 111

ambulanceAn operator will answer your call and ask if you want fire, ambulance or police. Answer "ambulance".

The operator will then put you through to a call handler at an ambulance communication centre. They'll ask you several questions, including the following:

Waiting for the ambulance to arrive

The person on the other end of the phone (the call handler) will talk you through how you should care for the person until the ambulance arrives. This is particularly important if the condition is life-threatening.

This may include talking you through how to check for breathing, how to position the person or how to do CPR. The call handler will stay on the line for as long as possible.

During this time:

When the ambulance arrives

In a medical emergency, the ambulance team may take you to the Emergency Department. The Emergency Department provides urgent treatment for serious illnesses or injuries.

If it turns out not to be a medical emergency, the ambulance crew may give you first aid. They may then recommend you see your GP or go to an after-hours clinic for any further care you need.

The cost of an ambulance

If you don't belong to the St John Supporter Scheme, St John will send you an invoice for $98 if you call an ambulance (you don't have to pay this up front).

If you're a member of the scheme, you won't have to pay for an ambulance.

Most medical alarm companies will cover the cost of ambulance call outs. If yours doesn't, you'll need to budget for this.

If the ambulance call out is a one-off and you can't afford it because of hardship, you may be able to get financial help through a Work and Income Special Needs Grant.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by projects lead, Clinical Control Services, St John Ambulance. Last reviewed November 2019.


Page reference: 306831

Review key: HIEMG-274747