Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
HomeWeekly RoundupUnderstaffing halves number of Eastern Cape Health ambulances

Understaffing halves number of Eastern Cape Health ambulances

Staff shortages have forced the Eastern Cape Health to almost halve the number of state ambulances on the road, reports News24. For years, state ambulances in the province have been scarce. The province has 447 ambulances – just over half the number that national standards require, according to guidelines quoted in a 2017 KwaZulu-Natal Health report.

But, the report says, the Eastern Cape's latest annual report shows that less than 250 of these vehicles are actually on the road. The document says that routine maintenance and a shortage of emergency medical workers are to blame for the cuts. In the last five years, only 30 paramedics have graduated with a degree in emergency medical care from Nelson Mandela University, the only school to offer paramedic training in the province.

The report says provincial emergency medical staff are also fed up about working conditions – including pay – and have engaged in periodic strikes since mid-January, says Thokozile Mtsolongo, a field researcher with public interest law organisation Section27.

Eastern Cape Health spends about 5% of its total budget on emergency medical services, its latest budget vote shows. But, the report says, even people lucky enough to live close to the province's cities are not assured an ambulance ride to hospital in time.

[link url="https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/eastern-cape-slashes-number-of-ambulances-by-roughly-50-20200214"]Full News24 report[/link]

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