By Jane Sithole, MPL, Spokesperson on Health:
The Health Department has moved the new emergency service vehicles that had been parked for months at a dealership in Mbombela municipality.
The DA has submitted parliamentary questions to Health MEC, Gillion Mashego, asking where the ambulances have been moved to. If the ambulances have been delivered, we further requested the MEC to elaborate on which healthcare facilities, local and district municipalities the ambulances will be servicing.
We hope that this means that the department has finally heeded the DA’s call and ensure that the ambulances are being used to save lives, and they haven’t simply been moved out of sight.
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Last week, the DA released a statement detailing how the Health Department’s shortage of staff, especially Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel, was the reason that the ambulances were not in active use.
Today, the DA can reveal that all the ambulances have been moved from the dealership’s yard, where they had stood gathering dust for months.
The department of Health purchased 79 emergency service vehicles valued at over R43 million, over the last two financial years but had only appointed 20 paramedics of the planned 113 operational staff members. In order to make full use of the ambulances, the department needs to appoint 325 EMS personnel.
Many families have been forced to make alternative plans to transport loved ones to hospital after ambulances took as much as 24-hours to arrive after being called. The utilisation of these ambulances will without a doubt increase EMS response time and relieve families of the burden of trying to find transport for sick and injured people.
The DA will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that all the emergency service vehicles are benefiting the people of Mpumalanga and are being fully utilised by healthcare facilities around the province, especially as we are approaching the festive season.