What we do

We are the only emergency ambulance service in Greater Wellington and the Wairarapa, and the only ones in the country who are free.

About Us

We are the only emergency ambulance service in Greater Wellington and the Wairarapa, and the only ones in the country who are free.

Work With Us

Clinical Care


Clinical Practice

Our Quality Improvement and Innovation team takes care of policy, practice and processes for continual improvement.

Our clinical practice is overseen by Medical Director, Dr Andy Swain. The clinical team works with all parts of the business to make sure our patients receive the best possible care.  They:

  • Design and regularly review Clinical Procedures and Guidelines that all paramedics use in their day to day work
  • Constantly review paramedic national and international sector standards to keep pace with today’s best practice knowledge and changing service needs
  • Take part in sector wide clinical initiatives and new developments
  • Carry out clinical audits, and monitor our practice against international best practice Clinical Quality Indicators
  • Review and share organisational learnings from complex cases
  • Review and approve new clinical equipment.

Clinical Procedures and Guidelines

This national document guides our clinical practice to ensure safe and consistent care for all of our patients.

These guidelines are presented for informative purposes only. Only those with an authority to practice issued by Wellington Free Ambulance may use these guidelines for the provision of patient care. These guidelines may change from time to time and Wellington Free Ambulance does not guarantee their accuracy once downloaded or printed.

Clinical Procedures and Guidelines

If you wish to make any formal comments or enquiries regarding these guidelines please contact: Chair of the National Ambulance Sector Clinical Working Group c/o Ambulance New Zealand, PO Box 714, Wellington.

Paramedic Registration

Wellington Free Ambulance and St John Ambulance have welcomed the announcement that paramedic services will be officially designated as a health profession from 1 January 2020.

Paramedic Registration

Currently, Wellington Free paramedics operate under a set of national practice guidelines and are granted “Authority to Practice” by our Medical Director, Dr Andy Swain. To become qualified they undertake a minimum of three years degree training and spend a further year working on the road under the guidance of a mentor. Paramedics’ “Authority to Practice” certificates are reviewed and renewed annually.

However, the announcement made by the Ministry of Health in November 2019 will see more than 1000 paramedics employed by both Wellington Free Ambulance and St John recognised for the work they do as well as giving patients across New Zealand confidence in the emergency ambulance services.

Wellington Free Ambulance Clinical Education Manager Kate Worthington says that registration is important.

“Paramedicine will become a nationally regulated medical profession under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) along with nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and others. Regulation ensures consistent national standards of care from health professionals, so the public can be assured of receiving the highest level of care no matter where they are in New Zealand.  At the end of the day it’s about patient safety,” she says.

The new regulation, announced by Health Minister David Clark, brings New Zealand in line with other countries such as Australia and Great Britain, where registration is compulsory to practice as a paramedic.

Requesting patient information

We take great care to ensure the privacy of your health information.

We collect information about you and your health to provide appropriate care, to keep you and others safe, to carry out teaching and research, and for statistical purposes.

Be assured that your information is kept secure and only authorised people have access to it. This may include other agencies, where authorised by law.

Accessing health information

If you have been a patient of ours and/or have contacted our Clinical Communications Centre, you have a right to request access to any personal health information that we hold and which is readily retrievable.

To apply for information to be released to you, download and complete the appropriate form below with the required documents stated in the checklist. Submit the completed form and all required attachments to:

Wellington Free Ambulance
Clinical Quality
PO Box 601
Wellington 6140

Or email [email protected]. If you would prefer to have this form posted to you call 04 499 9909.

Adverse Events

We take the provision of high quality patient care extremely seriously. We strive to do our very best for patients and their families every time we go to them.

Wellington Free Ambulance vehicle 

We have a process for identifying, investigating, and learning from events where patient care has not been to the standard we would expect.  This involves a team of our clinical, operational and 111 communications centre experts coming together regularly to review information received via patient feedback, complaints, or from our own quality assurance process.

Every investigation results in a set of recommendations for improvement, and as much as possible we keep the patient and their family informed of our progress and findings.  As well as our own investigation, serious (SAC1 and SAC2) events are reported to NASO and the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

For information about how adverse events are coded, and to view previous events visit the Ministry of Health website

We use the World Health Organization event codes to classify all events. More information on these codes can be found in the National Adverse Events Reporting Policy 2017. A copy of this policy is available here.

Consumer Council

Wellington Free Ambulance is here for all our communities in Greater Wellington and Wairarapa. With over 400 dedicated and compassionate staff, the team help thousands of people every year.

Two people in shadow at the front of the photo in the background a woman has her hand on a paramedics arm 

In order to continue to improve the way we do things, we want to hear from our consumers and their carers.

Through partnership and collaboration, the thoughts, feelings and ideas of the consumer will be heard in an honest and open forum, as part of the Consumer Council.

The Council will offer insight into the patient experience. Ensuring the consumers has a voice in all stages of planning, delivery, evaluation and monitoring, affecting all programmes and services at Wellington Free.

The rich diversity within our region needs to be reflected in our Consumer Council, this will ensure that interests of each group will be fairly represented. Understanding pre-hospital care through our consumer’s eyes is an important step to improving the overall health of our whole community.

The council will meet every 6-8 weeks and provide consumer’s insight for the following:

  • Reviewing clinical guidelines
  • Clinical pathway development
  • Adverse events group
  • Complaints process (not individual complaints)
  • Appointment panel for new staff
  • Clinical desk improvements
  • New ambulance vehicle layouts
  • Professional development for staff
  • Publications and documentation review
  • New health initiatives

Consumer Council members are all active advocates for the community groups they represent. They will play a key role in sharing the voice of their communities but also in turn become advocates for Wellington Free. Sharing their knowledge and understanding of our service among their communities helps improve health education and health literacy and allows us to promote positive changes and service improvements directly to the communities who need us. Working together to drive change.

For more information email [email protected].


Paramedic in an emergency

Like all health care providers, we are taking a range of precautions to keep patients, families and our team safe as COVID-19 circulates in the community.  This involves wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection depending on the situation. 

As a health service, we are also subject to the Government vaccination mandate, which means all Wellington Free Ambulance staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

For all information regarding COVID-19, visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website. 

If you have concerns about your health or the health of others, please call Healthline's dedicated COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453. This is free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 



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You Rights & More info


Your Rights

As our patient, and under the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Code of Rights, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • Be fully informed
  • Freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment and exploitation
  • dignity and independence
  • Services of an appropriate standard
  • Effective communication
  • Be fully informed
  • Make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Support
  • Respect of teaching or research
  • Complain

If we don’t respect these, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to put it right.

Support in the process

If you need support or help with making a complaint, you can contact the office of the Health and Disability Commissioner and ask for an advocate.

0800 555 050


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