DA will continue to fight for more ambulances in Eastern Cape

Issued by Jane Cowley, MPL
Shadow MEC for Health

Yesterday the ANC made it clear that they do not want the people of the Eastern Cape to have access to emergency medical services, shooting down a motion tabled in the Legislature to address the crippling state of emergency services in the province.

The motion, tabled by the DA, called for the outsourcing of repairs and maintenance of ambulances, to speed up ambulance turnaround times and improve service delivery. It also called for the decentralisation of ambulances across the province, so that our people living in rural areas have a better chance of accessing ambulances timeously.

By the Department of Health’s own admission, at any given time there are about 150 ambulances that are not operational because they are being repaired by the Government Fleet Management Services (GFMS).

Servicing an ambulance at GFMS takes about 50 days and repairing an ambulance takes about 100 days. A new ambulance can be built from scratch in a shorter time!

The DA will continue to fight for the right of our citizens to access effective emergency services, by advocating for the following:

  1. Public-private partnerships to effect speedy and cost-effective repairs to ambulances
  2. The devolution of ambulances and ambulance call centres to a sub-district level so that all citizens have access to emergency services without unnecessary delays
  3. The filling of all vacant funded Emergency Medical Services posts as a matter of extreme urgency, so that no ambulance remains unutilised, and the creation of more Advanced Life Support (ALS) posts in all eight districts
  4. A full audit into compliance of all ambulances in the province in terms of essential equipment and essential staffing, to prevent potential litigation against the Department of Health.

The DA believes that these four steps are essential to ensure that Emergency Medical Services personnel are fully equipped, fully supported and closer to the people that they serve.

The ANC made it clear they would rather allow hundreds of critically ill or injured patients to wait hours or sometimes days for an ambulance to arrive.

They also made it clear that they would not support the outsourcing of repairs and maintenance of ambulances, push for the filling of more EMS posts or conduct an audit into ambulance compliance because they seem to believe all ambulances comply with regulations.

It is no wonder that people of the Eastern Cape are voting with their feet and leaving the province in droves to find a better life, with far better services, in the Western Cape.

The DA will continue to fight for the right of all citizens in our province to access decent health care.