Wakatipu St John is raising concerns about Saturday’s Gibbston concert after it was punted as on-site medical provider.
Up to 15,000 revellers will flood through the turnstiles for the annual rock bash.
Promoters Greenstone Entertainment have dropped St John and awarded the commercial contract to firm Pro Med.
Queenstown St John station manager Craig Downing is worried about how they’ll dovetail with his organisation – on a busy weekend that includes Highlands Motorsport Park’s Festival of Speed.
“We are extremely concerned as an on-site medical team won’t have the ability to transport patients to hospital,” Downing says.
“They’ll have to call 111.”
St John is the only service legally allowed to respond to 111 calls and ambulance patients to hospital.
“If we were on-site we would have a much better coordination,” he says.
“We only have finite resources so if we’re not contracted to provide on-site medical, at the end of the day we can’t put crews on around the place.”
Greenstone site manager Dean Calvert says they believe the decision will instead take pressure off local emergency services.
The firm brought in Paramedical Consultancy to assess its concert cover.
“We felt what we had previously wasn’t potentially up to scratch,” Calvert says.
“We felt St John have always been a little short-staffed and reactionary. We have a very detailed plan now.
“We’re not at all taking away from the amazing job St John do but it’s about the number of highly-trained professionals on-site.”
Calvert says there’ll be three highly-qualified paramedics along with first responders, an on-site triage centre, safety zone and ambulance.
Downing says St John members on-site treated between 80 and 100 patients last year – from passed-out drunks, to people with fractured legs and heart problems.
Greenstone chief executive Amanda Calvert says the plan’s been approved by police, council and liquor licensing authority.
“[St John] tried to stop us getting our liquor licence because they were unhappy we didn’t use them,” she says.
“We’ve chosen to go with another provider and they’re upset about it.”
She says there’ll also be five fire engines on-site and helicopters with pontoon buckets on standby.