New St John shuttle needs volunteers

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The start date for Queens­town’s new community health shuttle hinges on finding up to 20 volunteer drivers. 

St John South Island publicity coordinator Alena Lynch says a nine-passenger minivan will make daily trips to Invercargill and back on demand, taking patients to South­land Hospital for appointments. 

No start date can be set until the 15-20 drivers are recruited, she says – two drivers are needed for each trip. 

Only ordinary driving licences are required and volunteers will get additional training, Lynch adds. 

As well as Invercargill, the shuttle may travel to other destinations as well, possibly including taking patients to Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital and local GPs, she says. 

There’s no charge for the service although Lynch says shuttle patients will be asked for a donation according to their ability to pay. 

As with other com­munity wellness services, the Wakatipu is a late recipient of its health shuttle – another Cromwell-based St John minibus has been ferrying Central Otago patients to Dunedin Hospital for about a year.