Monday, 20 May, 2024
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Gauteng EMS plagued by attacks and shortages

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Gauteng face a daily battle with attacks on paramedics, service delivery protests, budget constraints, staff shortages, crime and inaccessible areas, none of which is helped by having only 866 of the fleet of 942 operational ambulances on the road.

This number falls way short of the 1:10 000 ambulance-to-population ratio that is stipulated for Gauteng, which apparently needs 1 795 operational ambulances to service its population.

Provincial health spokesperson Motalatale Modiba told City Press the EMS was working with the little they have to deal with the obstacles, including “engaging with community safety, community policing forums and ward councillors on a mitigation plan”.

“There is a need to orientate communities about the value and importance of looking after our resources, both personnel and assets, so we occasionally conduct awareness campaigns.”

Although they disliked labelling specific areas as hotspots “as all people who need emergency medical care must have access to it”, Modiba said when the emergency services entered these areas, they had to request SAPS back-up, which affected response time.

They were currently working with community policing forums and councillors in districts to escort the ambulances, and to consider pick-up points in formal areas with no house numbers. “This challenge is a societal one and requires the communities to take a stand. It puts an unnecessary strain on limited resources.”

Other issues included having only 2 795 staff, with a shortfall of about 6 625. “It takes 10 employees to staff an ambulance on a four-shift system, and two are for leave and training,” Modiba said.


CityPress article – Crime, staff shortages, lack of accessibility plague Gauteng emergency services (Restricted access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Robbers attack EMS crews, steal ECG machines, equipment, phones


Police escorts demanded for EMS crews following KZN shooting of paramedic


Paramedics attacked while waiting for SAPS escort


Community-based paramedics save lives – and need no SAPS escorts


Doctors, nurses and paramedics are ‘soft targets’ for criminals





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