DA to intensify monitoring of GBV cases in Upington
|by Fawzia Rhoda, MPL – DA Constituency Head of Bo-Karoo|
|Date: 07 August 2020|
|Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbites in English & Afrikaans from Fawzia Rhoda, MPL. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is concerned about what appears to be a lack of maintenance of emergency medical vehicles and we are calling upon the MEC of Health, Maruping Lekwene, to ensure that this is beefed up amidst added pressure due to overwhelming demand from Covid-19 patients.The state of the province’s ambulance services came under the spotlight recently following an accident in Noupoort a couple of weeks ago, whereby an ambulance driver and a patient died in a gruesome accident (see pics here, here and here). It is believed that the ambulance that they were travelling in, had been giving problems. The same ambulance is also believed to have been involved in a previous accident.The department’s aging fleet and the delay in maintaining or repairing vehicles is not something new for the department, but it is debilitating and negatively impacts on response times, as the majority of the available fleet are often out of service.According to information provided by the department, the number of operational ambulances has declined from 120 to 80 on average per day. In this regard, at least 78 ambulances are not in working condition while about 29 patient transporters are non-operational. In addition to the above mentioned accident, the department also lost four ambulances in the first quarter alone. At the same time, however, the department has not procured any additional ambulances.The above situation is very worrying.When we were not living through a pandemic, the dire state of emergency medical services already presented a problem, causing people to die waiting for medical care arrive. How much worse will it not be when EMS personnel will be expected to provide long-distance transport to the closest ventilator and to attend those needing care at home, when no hospital beds are available?The DA is appealing to MEC Lekwene to urgently give attention to the ambulance fleet. While there may not be money to buy additional ambulances at this stage, what the department already has must be looked after with regular maintenance and servicing of vehicles.|
We also urge the department to institute a mass programme to recondition non-operational ambulances that still have the potential to be repaired.For as long as there are people out there needing emergency medical care, ambulances that still have potential, must not be allowed to sit and gather dust in workshops, while mechanics wait for payments to be made. Instead, they must be fixed up and put back in circulation. People’s lives are depending on it.