DA: Gauteng govt endangering lives with botched take over of ambulance services

Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni were running their own services before the Gauteng Health Department took over this function.

FILE: A City of Johannesburg EMS ambulance. Picture: @RobertMulaudzi/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for the Gauteng government to halt its provincialisation of ambulance services amid rising COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions.

The party said that the government had botched its takeover of all ambulance services in the province.

Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni were running their own services before the Gauteng Health Department took over this function.

According to the DA, only about 40 ambulances in the City of Joburg were operational following vehicle insurance and medical supply problems.

In Ekurhuleni, ambulance vehicles were lying idle due to licensing issues.

The DA wanted the Gauteng government to urgently make arrangements to ensure that all city ambulances were in operation as the province continued to dominate the daily COVID-19 infection numbers in the country.

The party’s Jack Bloom said that this had endangered lives at a time when ambulances were increasingly needed for transportation of infected people to quarantine and treatment facilities.

"How can this happen in the middle of this medical crisis that we are facing? And it's very serious and lives will be lost and to lose Johannesburg's 40 ambulances and I think it's particularly serious for the residents of Johannesburg. I think the provincial government needs to suspend the provincialistaion process and make sure that the city's ambulances, and in Ekurhuleni as well, are working properly to provide a decent service."

Ambulance resources had also been stretched thin following the closure of the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital as emergency crews were now forced to travel longer distances to transport patients who needed life-saving treatment.

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