Our Vision: To be pioneers of effective change for a better patient experience
Our Primary Purpose: To be the leading New Zealand ambulance service provider, passionate about delivering our free-to-the-patient high quality, community focused model of care.
Our Values: In our team we value: Passion, Openness, Caring, Integrity and Learning
An Incorporated Society run by its own board of management, Wellington Free Ambulance is an essential service provider, committed to providing the highest quality clinical care in emergency situations, pre-hospital care, transport and rescue services.
To provide this service WFA has over 200 staff, including 108 frontline paramedics, 20 paramedic volunteers, 30 managerial and administrative staff, and 44 emergency medical dispatchers.
Each year we assist over 58,000 patients (an average of more than 150 people per day) from our ten ambulance bases across the greater Wellington region.
WFA covers the area from just north of Waikanae, across to the top of Mount Bruce and down to Cook Strait , a population of approx. 500,000 people.
WFA maintains a position of leadership in the area of communications through investment in leading edge technology (for example GPS automatic vehicle locating), matched by highly trained communication staff.
In addition, our frontline ambulances are equipped with up-to-date equipment, to ensure that our paramedics continue to provide the highest quality of paramedical care.
Wellington Free Ambulance prides itself on being a future focussed organisation.
WFA maintains very close relationships with other emergency service providers. Whenever the Westpac Rescue helicopter is called to assist in a medical or accident emergency, a WFA Paramedic is always on board to provide in-flight continuous medical care in addition to at scene assistance.
In 2005, WFA and St John established a joint venture company - Central Emergency Communications Ltd - to provide ambulance communication centre services as part of a project that has seen the eight ambulance communications centres in New Zealand reduced to three.
WFA also has an agreement with the NZ Fire Service where fire crews will be dispatched in life-threatening situations where they are able to the patient quicker than paramedics.
WFA maintains its own specially trained Rescue squad. This squad works closely with Police Search and Rescue and is used for any situation where patient recovery requires four wheel driving, rope or winching techniques. The squad responds to anything from off road car crashes, to construction site rescues, boats swept onto rocks and tramping search and rescue missions.
On the water WFA provides occasionally paramedic crewing to the Police launch, Lady Elizabeth and also joins New Zealand Coast Guard vessels for emergency work at sea.
WFA has a close working relationship with Police, New Zealand Fire Service, Airport Fire Service, Civil Defence, WEMO, WRC, Red Cross and neighbouring ambulance services.
The role of a Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic is to provide potentially life saving skills in a timely and efficient manner. These skills are often utilised under highly stressful conditions, and in most cases there is both an urgent need for treatment and a requirement to get the patient to definitive care.
Wellington Free Ambulance currently employs 108 full-time paramedics, with an additional 35 volunteer paramedics on staff. Our paramedics are trained to a high clinical level, with opportunities to advance in specialist areas such as urgent community care, off-road patient recovery/rescue, aero-medical medicine and mass casualty incident management.
A paramedic works in 'cycles' - each cycle consists of two day shifts of 7am-6pm, followed by two night shifts of 6pm-7am, followed by four days off.
The paramedics of Wellington Free Ambulance are the heart and soul of the organisation – their skills, passion and professionalism are what allow us to provide such a vital service for the people of greater Wellington. They need your support so they can continue to make a difference to the local community.
Wellington Free Ambulance has a strong emphasis on continuing education of our professional ambulance staff. In partnership with Whitireia New Zealand, Wellington Free Ambulance Education Service delivers the BHSc (paramedic) degree and the Postgraduate Certificate in Specialty Care – Advanced Paramedic Practice. A postgraduate certificate for urgent care practice is also planned. Students from throughout New Zealand graduate with an ambulance qualification and are ready to be employed by the sector.
An Intern–Trainee Paramedic scheme complements the degree programme in developing the future ambulance workforce. Intern Trainee Paramedics work alongside experienced and qualified ambulance paramedics while at the same time studying toward ambulance qualifications and gaining invaluable operational and clinical experience.
Wellington Free Ambulance Service employs ambulance officers at the following levels:
Transfer Service (PTS) staff are initially trained in Core Skills and Ambulance Driving. The Core Skills learning is equivalent to the first module of the National Diploma in Ambulance Practice, a level five diploma which is delivered to experienced PTS staff and Events Medics who are ready to challenge a recognised qualification in paramedic practice at Basic Life Support (BLS) level. PTS officers do not routinely respond to emergency calls;
Events Medic volunteers are initially trained in Core Skills and Ambulance Driving. The Core Skills learning is equivalent to the first module of the National Diploma in Ambulance Practice, a level five diploma which is delivered to experienced PTS staff and Events Medics who are ready to challenge a recognised qualification in paramedic practice at Basic Life Support (BLS) level. Events medics are deployed to provide first aid cover at public events, working alongside higher grades of paramedic when required;
Emergency Ambulance Paramedics are employed at three grades: Basic Life Support (BLS), Intermediate Life Support (ILS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS). Authority to Practice (ATP) is delegated by the Medical Director. In order to attain ATP at these grades, paramedics must have completed education as follows:
BLS: National Diploma in Ambulance Practice (level five), or evidence of achievement at this level during year two of the BHSc (paramedic) degree;
ILS: BHSc (paramedic) year three, or Wellington Free Ambulance ILS Pathway internal qualification;
ALS: Postgraduate Certificate in Specialty Care – Advanced Paramedic Practice, or near equivalent. Known as Intensive Care Paramedics (ICPs), they administer a range of resuscitation drugs and perform a range of patient care resuscitation skills including transcutaneous pacing, endotracheal intubation, chest decompression, cricothyroidotomy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), capnography, intra-osseous infusion and prehospital thrombolysis
All paramedical staff are assessed each year through a continuing medical education programme and clinical skill revalidation. This verifies continuing ATP;
Chief Executive - Diana Crossan
Executive Manager - Clinical Services - Paul Fake
Executive Manager - Corporate Services - Graeme Quinn
Executive Manager - Fundraising and Marketing - David Baker
Executive Manager - Service Development & Delivery - Andy Long
An incorporated society, WFA has its own board of management, operating under a constitution which was revised in 2001. The full board meets at six weekly intervals. This board also maintains several sub-committees, which include Finance Audit & Risk, Human Resources and Marketing.
As at 1st September 2011, The Board of Directors for Wellington Free Ambulance are:
Ross Martin: Chair (Joined WFA: 2007)
Ross is a chartered accountant and a graduate of the Stanford University Advanced Management programme. He is currently the chairman of Fullers Group, a trustee of Wellington Zoo and holds a number of other directorships.
For 17 years Ross was chairman and CEO of Stagecoach Asia Pacific, where he headed the successful expansion from 180 buses in Wellington to over 2,350 buses, ten ferries and 7,000 employees in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.
Ross believes that Wellington Free Ambulance has a vitally important role in the life of Wellingtonians. 'I'm involved because I want to play my part in ensuring that its services remain "free" and of the highest quality.'
Rose Anne MacLeod: Deputy Chair (Joined WFA: 2010)
Rose Anne has extensive financial skills gained in both the public and private sectors in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Rose Anne graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (B Com) from Auckland University in 1980, has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with distinction from Massey (1993) and completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2001. She is a Chartered Accountant, Fellow Certified Practising Accountant of Australia and an alumni of the Harvard Business School.
After working in the New Zealand Treasury, Rose Anne was recruited to work in financial management reform for the State Government of Victoria and was later appointed Chief Financial Officer for Medibank Private, Australia's largest health insurer. In 2002 she returned to New Zealand to take up her appointment as Chief Financial Officer for the Ministry of Education. In 2006 Rose Anne joined Victoria University as a Senior Fellow and was recently appointed the Assistant Vice Chancellor (Finance, Strategy and Information Technology) at Massey University.
Rose Anne grew up in Katikati in the Bay of Plenty and has two teenage sons. Ms MacLeod said she is looking forward to helping Wellington Free Ambulance build a strong and financially sustainable future. "Wellington Free Ambulance delivers an essential emergency service to the people of Wellington. It's an iconic organization and I'm looking forward to being part of it".
Bill Day, JP (Joined WFA: 1999)
Previously CEO of New Zealand Community Trust and manager of group corporate relations for Westpac Bank, Bill currently holds chairman roles with Life Flight Trust – of which he has been a trustee for 25 years – and the Wellington Hospitals & Health Foundation. He is also a board member of the Shakespeare Globe Theatre Trust, director of Niloc (2005) Ltd, a marriage celebrant and Justice of the Peace.
Bill conceived and instigated the formation of the Society of Air Rescue Trust and the charity gaming association. He has held directorships in a number of other charitable trusts and companies.
According to Bill, 'Representing the Life Flight Trust on the Board of Wellington Free Ambulance is both an honour and a privilege. It's an honour to be involved with a Wellington Icon Service and a privilege to help the members of our community who need the valuable services of New Zealand's only free ambulance service.'
Peter Allport (Joined WFA: 2010)
Chris Kalderimis (Joined WFA: 2012)
The paramedics of Wellington Free Ambulance rely on the latest medical equipment as part of their job. From frontline ambulances and stretchers to defibrillators and suction units, this equipment plays a key role in their ability to provide life-saving assistance in an emergency. Below is a list of some of this commonly used equipment. If you would like to contribute toweards the funding of this equipment, then please click on the appropriate link below. Images of our vehicles can also be viewed in our gallery.
Wellington Free Ambulance currently operates 19 Mercedes Sprinters as frontline emergency ambulances around the greater Wellington region.
These V6, 3.8 litre diesel vehicles are custom-built in the Germany Mercedes Factory with extra airbags and an oversized fuel tanks, then shipped to New Zealand where they undergo conversion into an ambulance.The finished vehicle has sliding doors on both sides, warning devices (lights and sirens) and a modified rear compartment for a stretcher and other medical equipment. The vehicle is finished in reflective yellow to make it highly visible to other drivers.
More information about the Emergency Ambulance Service can be found here.
If you are interested in funding towards a frontline ambulance, please contact us for more information.
Wellington Free Ambulance currently operates five Mercedes Sprinters as patient transfer ambulances around the greater Wellington region.
These V6, 3.8 litre diesel vehicles are custom-built in the Germany Mercedes Factory with extra airbags and an oversized fuel tanks, then shipped to New Zealand where they undergo conversion into a patient transfer ambulance. The finished vehicle warning devices (lights and sirens) and a modified rear compartment for a PowerPro stretcher and other medical equipment. It also has the capacity to fit additional patients who do not require a stretcher during transport.
The WFA Patients Transfer Service also operates other vehicles as part of its fleet, as shown here.
If you are interested in funding towards a patient transfer ambulance, please contact us for more information.
Wellington Free Ambulance currently operates three of the 3.2 Litre Diesel DID Mitsubishi Pajero vehicles as Rapid Response Units around the greater Wellington region.
These Rapid Response vehicles are typically crewed by an ICP (Intensive Care Paramedic), and are used to move rapidly to the scene of a vehicle accident or other serious emergency, allowing the ICP to utilise their advanced paramedic training for the patient's benefit and to coordinate the scene with Fire and Police. The vehicle is equipped with a Lifepak defibrillator and other life-saving equipment.
Thanks to Mitsubishi Motors for their generous support of Wellington Free Ambulance in sponsoring these vehicles.
This 3.2 Litre Diesel DID Mitsubishi Pajero is used as part of the Urgent Community Care (UCC) pilot that is operating on the Kapiti Coast.
This vehicle contains an ECP (Extended Care Paramedic) who can attend specified patients and offer advanced medical care and support - as one of the UCC pilot concepts is to provide an alternative to transporting patients to hospital, this vehicle does not contain a stretcher for patient transfer.
Thanks to Mitsubishi Motors for their generous support of Wellington Free Ambulance in sponsoring this vehicle.
More information about the Urgent Community Care Pilot can be found here.
The Wellington Free Ambulance Rescue Squad operates two four wheel drive vehicles as part of its fleet - a Mitsubishi Triton and a Chevrolet Suburban.
The 2.8 litre Diesel Triton Rescue vehicle is used to navigate difficult-terrain areas, such as forest/ tramping and rocky regions, that an ambulance would not be able to access. It has a winch attached at the front (with a 9,000 kilo pulling capacity), useful for extracting vehicles from dangerous situations. The vehicle itself contains advanced medical and patient recovery equipment that the WFA Rescue Squad paramedics utilise in an emergency.
More information about the WFA Rescue Squad can be found here.
If you are interested in funding towards a new Rescue Squad vehicle, please contact us for more information.
The TeamFree Events Unit currently operates three of the 6 litre, V8 Chevrolet Silverado vehicles at part of its event fleet.
These ambulance have previously been part of the frontline emergency ambulance fleet for the service, but following their decommission from active duty they've been put to good use by the TeamFree Event Medics. These ambulances contain a stretcher in the rear compartment of the vehicle, as well as a range of medical equipment for event use.
More information about the TeamFree Event Unit can be found here.
When the heart has trouble beating regularly, it can go into a state of tachycardia (tachy - fast, cardia - heart) whereby it sort of "flutters" instead of pulsing regularly. This fluttering is termed fibrillation and is extremely life threatening, since blood is not being pushed around the body as normal.
The Lifepak 15 defibrillator applies a sharp electric shock to the heart, by the positioning of two electrodes with conductive gel at specific sites on the skin. The shock is like a 'slap in the face' to the heart - it makes the cardiac muscle fibres contract, pause and, hopefully, regain their rhythm. Paramedics use this device on a daily basis to shock a patient's heart in the event of a cardiac arrest, with one of these units carried in every frontline emergency ambulance.
If you are interested in funding towards a Lifepak 15 defibrillator, please contact us for more information.
The Lifepak 1000 Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) is a powerful basic life support tool for the patient, carried in our patient transfer ambulances and other service vehicles.
In the event of a cardiac arrest, this powerful machine can provide a potentially life-saving shock to the patient, and is able to be operated easily and effectively - variations of these units are becoming increasingly available in large businesses or at community centres for the public to use in the event of an emergency.
If you are interested in funding towards a Lifepak 1000 AED, please contact us for more information.
The Stryker Rugged M1 stretcher is a key piece of equipment for our frontline paramedics, with every frontline ambulance equipped with one of these units.
These stretchers are flexible thanks to a wheel swivel system, which gives our paramedics the ability to turn the unit more easily - very important when considering that patients often need transport to and from narrow and windy areas. They are primarily built for single person operation, with retractable legs that fold up and out when the stretcher is placed into / removed from the ambulance.
If you are interested in funding towards a Stryker stretcher, please contact us for more information.
Wellington Free Ambulance has recently moved to a new motorised stretcher for its patient transfer fleet – the Stryker Power-PRO TL powered ambulance cot.
One of the key reasons for moving to a motorised stretcher is to reduce the amount of manual lifting that our frontline paramedics are required to take, thus reducing the likelihood of injury and that paramedic being taken out of action. An innovative battery-operated hydraulic system that raises/lowers patient at the touch of a button and a range of stretcher position options makes this the ideal stretcher for our patient transfer ambulances.
If you are interested in funding towards a Powerpro stretcher, please contact us for more information.
A Suction Unit is a standard piece of equipment for a frontline ambulance, and arguably one of its most important over a range of emergencies. It's purpose is to maintain a patient's airway, so it is commonly used in cardiac arrest situations and when a patient is unconscious.
It works like a vacuum to clear away any debris/obstruction to the patient's airway and to promote breathing.
If you are interested in funding towards a Laerdal Suction Unit, please contact us for more information.