Friday, 14 June, 2024
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SA short of thousands of ambulances

Government ambulances services are in a state of crisis, with not only a shortage of 3 401 vehicles, but of the 3 342 ambulances available, 750 are out of service through lack of maintenance or accidents.

According to Politicsweb, the statistics were revealed by Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla in answer to a written parliamentary question from the DA, which said there were numerous complaints countrywide about emergency medical services (EMS) being slow to respond to calls or never arriving. Lives had been lost because ambulances had not arrived in time.

Haseena Ismail, DA Member on the Portfolio Committee of Health, said it was particularly concerning that 131 ambulances were out of commission through accidents, and that 383 crashes have already occurred this year, “with some of such nature that it warranted disciplinary procedures and final written warnings”.

In Limpopo, there had been 56 accidents so far this year, but as yet, not a single form of disciplinary action had been instituted, she said, with this proper consequence management in the Department of Health being highlighted by the Auditor-General in his annual report.

‘It is no surprise that communities are scared and angry – they do not know whether they will be assisted in the event of a medical emergency. Not only are the shortage of EMS vehicles a headache and danger, but if the NHI Bill is pushed through Parliament the impact on the already overburdened public health system will be severe.”

Over the 2021 festive season, 1 685 people were killed in road accidents. “How many could have been saved if the country’s EMS had been fully capacitated?”


PoliticsWeb article – SA needs at least 3 400 more ambulances – Haseena Ismail (Open access)


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