Gaut­eng am­bu­lance short­age dis­tress­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - PIC­TURE: HENK KRUGER / ANA

THE DA has put the spot­light on in­ad­e­quate emer­gency health ser­vices in Gaut­eng, say­ing the prov­ince needs as many as 700 am­bu­lances but plans to buy only 114 new ones.

DA MPL Jack Bloom said it had emerged that the tar­get was 1 474 am­bu­lances for Gaut­eng, but there were only 773 at the mo­ment.

“The plan is to buy 114 am­bu­lances this year, but 110 am­bu­lances were dis­posed of last year due to ac­ci­dents, high mileage and high cost to re­pair, so the to­tal num­ber of am­bu­lances barely in­creases,” said Bloom.

He said that ide­ally, 33% of the am­bu­lance fleet had to be re­placed ev­ery year to pre­vent high mileage and main­te­nance costs.

“The num­ber of dis­patched emer­gency cases has nearly dou­bled from an av­er­age of 13965 cases per month in 2015 to 26063 cases per month this year,” Bloom noted.

He said the Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices (EMS) bud­get for 2017 was R1.175 bil­lion, but R223 mil­lion of the bud­get would be used to pay debts from the pre­vi­ous year.

“It is un­clear where the money will come from for the pro­jected over­spend this year of R218m,” Bloom said.

He said other prob­lems in­cluded makeshift EMS fa­cil­i­ties, in­ad­e­quate wash bays and sluice rooms, as well as a short­age of qual­i­fied paramedics.

“It is dis­tress­ing that the emer­gency ser­vices are in such poor shape, as slow re­sponse times in­crease the risk of death,” Bloom said.

“Bet­ter man­age­ment of the avail­able bud­get is needed, in­clud­ing con­tracts with pri­vate am­bu­lances to pro­vide a bet­ter ser­vice.”

SHORT­AGE: Gaut­eng has only 773 am­bu­lances at the mo­ment.

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