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WC govt condemns continued attacks on ambulance crews

There were four attacks on paramedics in areas including Lavender Hill and Philippi at the weekend.

FILE: An EMS paramedic responds to a call. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape government has on Tuesday called on communities to do their part to ensure the safety of ambulance crews who continue to come under attack in certain areas when they respond to emergency calls.

There were four attacks on paramedics in areas including Lavender Hill and Philippi at the weekend.

There have been at least 12 attacks on emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in the province since the start of 2020 alone.

The Democratic Alliance’s provincial health spokesperson Wendy Philander said it was alarming that attacks on ambulance crews continued, especially at a time when medical staff was needed most.

“These senseless attacks are particularly concerning at a time when EMS personnel are so fundamentally important in the fight against COVID-19,” she said.

Philander said the incidents often occurred in identified hotspots where communities were seriously in need of these services.

The head of the Western Cape EMS Dr Shaheem de Vries said the attacks on paramedics were mostly opportunistic.

“They are often distracted but necessarily so as they attend to their patients, and under those conditions, it is very easy to fall victim to someone who is looking for an opportunity to get valuables,” he said.

De Vries said EMS personnel were mostly targeted for their personal belongings.

Listen to Dr Shaheem de Vries’ interview on CapeTalk below:

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