05/24/2012 06:20 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Newfoundland and Labrador to hire consultant to review ambulance service

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government has launched a review of the province's ambulance services.

The Conservative government announced Thursday it will hire a consultant to do the work.

Health Minister Susan Sullivan says the goal it to improve efficiency, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Sullivan says the consultant will look at best practices in other jurisdictions and make recommendations about staffing strategies, new technology, information systems and other areas of concern.

As well, the consultant will look at the integration of the existing helicopter and fixed-wing ambulance programs with the road ambulance program.

The current ambulance systems costs the province $52 million annually to operate.