2 WC ambulance crews attacked in separate incidents

On Saturday night in George, paramedics were robbed while treating a patient in the back of an ambulance.

FILE: An ambulance. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape emergency health teams are under attack again. In two separate incidents, ambulance crews have been targeted by criminals.

On Saturday night in George, paramedics were robbed while treating a patient in the back of an ambulance.

Just hours later in Khayelitsha, another crew was forced to flee the Site B area after community members tried to enter their vehicle.

These areas have not been declared red zones.

These are high risk areas where EMS staff won't enter unless accompanied by police.

Earlier last month, the Western Cape Health Department said it was 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 said that they did implement interventions last year that saw police escorting paramedics into dangerous areas.

The South African Medical Association also added its voice to calls for government intervention to help stop attacks on emergency personnel.

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

Meanwhile, paramedics trade unions condemned escalating levels of violence against emergency medical service workers.

Trade unions Hospersa warned emergency medical workers could withdraw their services in dangerous areas.