Health Department given 14 days to respond to ambulance shortage in NMB

Note to editors: Please find attached a soundbite by Jane Cowley MPL.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape has requested the Eastern Cape Department of Health give feedback, within 14 days, on its plans to remedy the slow response time and shortage of ambulances in Motherwell and other outlying areas of Nelson Mandela Bay.

In recent weeks patients from Motherwell have died because Emergency Medical Service (EMS) officials decided to relocate ambulances from the Motherwell Community Health Centre and base them at Dora Nginza Hospital.

Some clinics in Motherwell have waited an entire day for an ambulance to collect patients requiring hospitalisation.

Today, 4 June 2019, I was joined by Ngqura Constituency Leader, Yusuf Cassim MPL, local NMB councillors and community members in leading a picket at the Dora Nginza hospital. See pictures attached here, here, here and here.

I also handed a memorandum to the department requesting more ambulances be allocated to the Motherwell Community Health Centre and for satellite ambulance services to be established across Nelson Mandela Bay. See memorandum attached here.

We will require feedback, within 14 days, as to what plans will be put in place to remedy the situation in Motherwell and across Nelson Mandela Bay.

I have also written to the new MEC of Health, Sindiswa Gomba, to establish why the reckless decision was taken to move all ambulances out of Motherwell. See letter attached here.

The international norm is one ambulance per 10 000 residents. The Eastern Cape would therefore need 650 functional ambulances. Currently the province has approximately 200 functional ambulances – less than a third of what we require to serve all communities.

Over the past 10 years in the DA-led Western Cape, 10 emergency centres have been upgraded or replaced, 11 new ambulance stations have been built and the rural patient pick-up service assists 150 000 rural patients per annum. Ambulance response times are the best in the country.

The Democratic Alliance is committed to delivering quick and effective medical attention to all residents.