WC Health Dept to intensify efforts to keep EMS staff safe

In the most recent incident, criminals held up an ambulance crew at gunpoint as a critically injured child lay in the back. The boy subsequently died.

FILE: Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo. Picture: @nomafrench/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Health Department is intensifying its efforts to keep Emergency Medical Services staff safe.

There have been numerous attacks on emergency personnel this year.

In the most recent incident, criminals held up an ambulance crew at gunpoint as a critically injured child lay in the back. The boy subsequently died.

MEC Nomafrench Mbombo says that they did implement interventions last year that saw police escorting paramedics into dangerous areas.

“You find that the attacks continued even outside the red zones because some of the other red it will be temporary, probably for 24 hours.”

Earlier, the South African Medical Association added its voice to calls for government intervention to help stop attacks on emergency personnel.

The association and trade union Hospersa have expressed outrage in reaction to the death of an eight-year-old boy after an ambulance was targeted on the N2 highway during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The South African Medical Association says that reports indicate that there have been more than 200 attacks on emergency medical services staff since 2012.

The association has labelled this week's attack as outrageous and sickening, adding that to just simply condemn these incidents, is not enough.

Hospersa’s Noel Desfontaines has warned, as a desperate measure, members have considered withdrawing their services.

“We don’t want that to happen and the Health Department has given us no option. It is more common in the Western Cape, although we have seen in other areas as well.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)