By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
Yesterday (Saturday 30 May), an Eldorado Park family had to take a seriously ill man to hospital after waiting more than two hours for an ambulance that failed to arrive.
Mr Joseph Marks was gasping for breath when they first called an ambulance at about 10 am.
When his neighbour alerted Ms Minah Rosenberg to the situation she thought he was close to dying and she drove to the Freedom Park Emergency Services Depot to get an ambulance.
She waited from 11 to 11.30 am at the depot after being told repeatedly that an ambulance was “on the way”.
There were two ambulances parked there but she was told that there were no drivers for them and the vehicles were “not commissioned”.
Meanwhile, the family gave up on the ambulance and took Mr Marks to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
This is yet another Johannesburg ambulance horror story that I have heard this year.
My assessment is that the emergency ambulance service in Johannesburg is very poor, often failing to arrive in good time despite anguished phone calls
But according to figures supplied to the Gauteng Health Department, the city claims that 79% of Priority 1 patients are transported within 15 minutes, which is a world class performance.
I think that they are blatantly lying about response times to cover up appalling mismanagement of emergency services that puts patients’ lives at risk.
The Gauteng Health Department needs to investigate the ambulance service in Johannesburg and take strong measures to ensure that a decent service is provided instead of make-believe statistics that hide the true situation.