St John to cut up to 100 jobs in bid to recover $30m loss due to COVID-19

St John ambulance.
St John ambulance. Photo credit: Getty

St John Ambulance will cut up to 100 jobs in a bid to remain viable post-coronavirus as the charity's long-standing financial woes continue to worsen.

The ambulance provider is drastically reducing its staff in a bid to recover $30 million in the next financial year, as it struggles to keep afloat due to the continuing impact of COVID-19. 

Chief executive Peter Bradley told Newshub the charity is forecasting a $20 million loss due to slashed fundraising alone amid the COVID crisis. He argues its funding model is not sustainable.

"Clearly we've got a long-standing issue over our funding model - and that's a lot of money. We are New Zealand's most trusted charity and we get fantastic support from the public," Bradley said. 

"We need to be less reliant on fundraising in the future to run the ambulance service and the Government's aware of that."

The struggling service is now facing a significant deficit for the coming year.

"We've potentially looked at 100 of our staff from across New Zealand. That will happen over the next three to six months," he explained.

"It is difficult and it's going to be hard for our people, but we'll work through it and do the best we can."

No frontline ambulance roles are expected to be dropped under the drastic cuts, which will primarily affect those in support roles or on executive and management teams. Pay increases will be frozen for senior positions, office buildings will be closed and several projects will be paused in the bid to fill the $30 million financial hole.

The organisation also plans to stop face-to-face clinical education for ambulance staff over the coming year. 

Bradley says St John is in dire straits as it prepares for the projected multimillion-dollar revenue loss.

St John ambulance.
St John ambulance. Photo credit: Newshub

"We've got a long-standing financial issue. It needs a fundamental review. This affects all parts of St John, from our first-aid training to our charity's charitable services."

Employees were reportedly warned on June 10 job cuts were likely, with staff receiving an internal email on Wednesday outlining the charity's fight for survival.

The Ministry of Health and ACC fund 72 percent of St John, with the rest provided by charitable donations.

St John provides ambulance services for 90 percent of New Zealand.