The Democratic Alliance (DA) said no provincial Health Department ambulances should go out to high risk areas without police escorts. The Mercury reports that this was after a paramedic was injured last week in an alleged hijacking when an ambulance crew were picking up a patient at Baker Road, uMlazi in KwaZulu-Natal.
Police provincial spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of attempted murder was being investigated by uMlazi SAPS. “It is alleged that a woman was shot and wounded when they were ambushed by unknown suspects while travelling in an ambulance. The injured victim was rushed to hospital for medical attention,” Gwala said.
Dr Rishigen Viranna, the DA’s provincial spokesperson on Health, said it was a disgrace that criminals had the audacity to attack a paramedic who provided an essential service and tried to save lives.
Health Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said: "We are shocked and concerned about the recent attack on our emergency services personnel. We have pleaded with communities before to help find ways to protect paramedics because when they respond to distress calls, they do so in service of the public. However, we have noted improvements in certain areas in this regard. Furthermore, we need to emphasise that such incidents are isolated and do not occur everywhere.”
Maphisa said the department was still “deeply concerned” about two recent incidents in Lamontville, where employees were attacked while responding to calls for help.
[link url="https://www.iol.co.za/mercury/news/paramedics-should-be-under-police-guard-afdf607e-2d4c-4191-9fa4-c94fb9317c29"]Full report in The Mercury (Open access)[/link]