The Western Cape Health Department has barred all emergency medical service (EMS) personnel from entering certain areas without a police escort. News24 reports that this was after an EMS crew was held at gunpoint last week while responding to an emergency call in J-Section, Khayelitsha.
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said “red” zones where EMS crews have been attacked more than once had been identified. “We have put in place procedures to forbid any EMS personnel from entering these zones without escort of the South African Police Service,” she said.
Mbombo said the department has introduced situational awareness training, which includes anti-hijacking training, to paramedics. Ambulance windows have also been fitted with tinted smash-and-grab safety film. “Despite our best efforts to protect our staff members, little can be done without the co-operation of the communities that we serve,” Mbombo said.
The report says in a separate incident in December an EMS crew was robbed while attending to a patient in Khayelitsha. A formal bail application for the three men accused of robbing the paramedics took place last Friday.
“It is crucial to understand that with every attack on our crews, their passion for the service that they render is slowly being eroded,” Mbombo said in the report.News24 report