About 300 qualified staff and 78 ambulances have been temporarily put out of action, thanks to a “rush” to provincialise Tshwane’s ambulance services, the DA has claimed.
This as all calls made to Tshwane emergency services’ call centre, via their toll-free 107 number, requesting ambulances are now transferred to the Gauteng emergency centre’s call centre by operators.
Only the Gauteng emergency management services can render emergency medical service in the Tshwane metro.
The problem was that “Johannesburg’s emergency management services had now dropped from 60 ambulances to 20 ambulances on a shift”, according to DA Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom.
“These ambulances are purely focused on emergency calls whereas the 45 provincial ambulances in Johannesburg do both inter-facility transfers and medical emergencies.”
He described the situation in Tshwane as “serious”, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tshwane emergency services spokesperson Charles Mabaso said the move by the Gauteng department meant that they were without an operational ambulance service.
“The current situation is that the Tshwane emergency services will only respond to fire, rescue and humanitarian incidents as and when they are reported.”
“Our ambulances will not be in operation until the licensing matter is resolved or otherwise.”
Mabaso said it was “unfortunate” that residents were not informed on time about Tshwane’s suspension on the ambulance service due to procedural requirements, which led to delays in informing the public.
He said “corrective attention was given to the matter”.
Mabaso said the metro could, however, currently use its fire brigade service.
The Fire Brigade Services Act still gave the department room to still perform ambulance services offered through the fire brigade department subject to Health Act requirements.
This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.