PRIME to provide speedy response to accidents and emergencies with new vehicle

Accidents and emergencies in rural areas can mean help is often hours away.

Thanks to funding by the Raglan Community Charitable Trust, Raglan’s PRIME (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) has had a boost to the service that provides specialised, on-call backup to the local emergency services.

Two doctors and two nurses new to the service have undertaken specialist training on rural emergency response training and the Raglan PRIME service now has a dedicated vehicle, equipped and ready to attend medical emergencies.

Raglan Community Charitable Trust chair Peter Storey says the trust is committed to providing funding that benefits the health and well-being of the people of Raglan.

“Supporting PRIME was an opportunity for us to fund a community project that will benefit a lot of people in our area.”

Peter has experienced first-hand the service in action after a person with diabetes collapsed where he was volunteering; PRIME was called into action and Raglan Medical Centre’s Dr Mike Loten was sent to the incident.

Servicing Whaingaroa, PRIME now has four registered nurses and four doctors, who work at the Raglan Medical Centre, and another local intensive care nurse who works at Waikato Hospital.

Mike says the funding has come at a time when the service was experiencing a bit of a lull, and the additional staff and vehicle means they are able to provide a more extensive service.

“The funding has made an enormous difference to the morale of the PRIME team who feel very supported and invigorated.”

As with most rural communities, Raglan St John only has one full time paid staffer and volunteer crew as back-up. This can mean the only ambulance on-call is in Hamilton and sometimes up to an hour and a half away.

This is where PRIME kicks in, Raglan Medical Centre and other PRIME-trained staff operate an on-call roster to support the ambulance with a speedy response to seriously ill or injured patients.

Staff carry a pager, PRIME response kit and other relevant safety equipment and will respond to emergency calls sent by St John.

When minutes matter in a medical emergency, Peter says PRIME will make a huge difference, not only in life and death situations but also in the recovery of the patient.

Janine Jackson

Local medical professionals with emergency skills can join PRIME – training will continue to be fully funded by the Raglan Community Charitable Trust. Contact Dr Mike Loten at Mike@raglanmedical.co.nz.