THE New Zealand Ambulance Association's plan to ban single crewing of ambulances from December 1 was suspended for seven days yesterday, in the wake of negotiations with St John.
Representatives from the union and St John Central Region met in Palmerston North to discuss the NZAA's intention to impose the ban, which if implemented would cover the Wanganui and Horowhenua areas.
The union has called single crewed call outs, where ambulance officers attend a call alone, a risk for ambulance officers and patients that could no longer be tolerated.
But in a November 8 letter to the union, St John central operations manger Grant Pennycook expressed concern that a ban on single-crewing would "threaten" its ability to provide adequate services and have serious implications for patient safety and care.
Areas such as Wanganui, Otaki, Ohakune, Levin, Taihape and Marton would be especially affected by a ban.
At yesterday's meeting the NZAA agreed to suspend their intent to impose the ban until November 23, in order to give both parties an opportunity to discuss the issues around single crewing.
St John in turn agreed not to seek an injunction against the union during this period, the statement says.
"Both the NZAA and St John are committed to reaching agreement in relation to the single crewing concerns and its members & Both St John and the NZAA agree that all emergency ambulance responses should be double crewed," the statement says.
Last month, St John made a submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry into the provision of Ambulance Services, calling for a "significant lift" in Crown funding to address with issue.
St John has told the union a ban would be "pre-emptive" while this was being considered.
The NZAA was not able to comment yesterday as part of a show of good faith to St John.
St John and the NZAA will meet again on November 23.