[LISTEN] Should we arm our paramedics?

The debate continues on ways to protect EMS crews from attacks while they are trying to save lives.

CAPE TOWN - With attacks on paramedics continuing unabated, there have been calls for them to be armed.

In the most recent incident last week, paramedics from Melomed Hospital were robbed at gunpoint in Mitchells Plain.

In the Western Cape alone, 58 attacks on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crews were recorded between January and October 2018.

Last month, the South African Emergency Personnel Union called on its members to arm themselves over the festive season following a spate of attacks.

Director of EMS in the Western Cape, Shaheem De Vries, says this call highlights a strong and emotive element linked to the tax on paramedics, which is why the call happened.

“As leadership, there is a responsibility and accountability to make sure that the discourse that happened is responsible and that is the unfortunate element and the union’s stance has been criticised by the industry for taking that particular view and for raising it the way that they did.”

De Vries says that the way to solve the issue of paramedics and medical staff being attacked is by making “diligent decisions.”

“Be it as leadership, as civil society or as the paramedics themselves.”

Listen to the audio above for more.

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