By Kaya 959 News
Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi has revealed that 106 out of 257 of the province’s ambulance vehicles are broken.
Answering a question put forward by the DA’s Jack Bloom, the MEC said only 151 provincial ambulances are operational, and only the DA-run City of Tshwane has applied for a temporary operating licence for its own ambulances.
Bloom said the Gauteng Health Department held a meeting in January this year with municipal Emergency Ambulance Services managers and it was agreed that municipal EMS may apply for operating licences, but neither Johannesburg nor Ekurhuleni applied despite previously running large ambulance fleets.
He said the root of the problem is that the Department is provincialising the emergency ambulance service, and this has led to the withdrawal of ambulances in two of the three metro cities.
“I distrust the Department’s claim that 94% of Priority 1 cases are responded to within 30 minutes as I often get complaints about ambulances that take hours to arrive or don’t come at all,” he said.
Ambulances desperately needed
According to Bloom, residents in Eldorado Park battled to get hold of an ambulance for an emergency and had to eventually transport the sick patient to the hospital in a private vehicle.
“The world standard is 80% of Priority 1 calls responded to within 15 minutes, but the Department has arbitrarily changed this to a 30-minute standard,” he said
Bloom said it is unclear why the department now says that they only have 151 working ambulances for the province when they said earlier this year they had 1244 ambulances with 350 out of action because of maintenance and repairs.
“The reality is that Gauteng residents cannot depend on an ambulance arriving in good time in an emergency, and the situation has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is inexcusable that Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni have not applied for a temporary licence to continue running ambulances that are desperately needed to save lives,” Bloom said.