Gauteng ambulance shortage distressing
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.