Ricochet News

'Motherwell residents losing their lives under EMS chaos' DA

Jun 3, 2019
'Motherwell residents losing their lives under EMS chaos' DA

Port Elizabeth - Patients from Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, are in dire need of medical assistance, have died, because Emergency Medical Service officials decided to relocate ambulances from the Motherwell Community Health Centre and base them at Dora Nginza hospital, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says.

The DA had an oversight to the Motherwell Community Health Centre, where Jane Cowley, the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Health was accompanied by DA Ngqura Constituency Leader, Yusuf Cassim; DA Federal Chairperson, Athol Trollip, and local NMB Councillors.

"This follows after reports from medical practitioners that several patients in the area have lost their lives in recent weeks, while waiting for ambulances to arrive," Cowley said.

"These deaths, according to them, could all have been avoided, had the ambulances been closer at hand. In other words, these deaths were unnecessary.

"Some clinics in Motherwell have waited an entire day for an ambulance to collect patients requiring hospitalisation."

She said that in other cases, “babylances”’, which are ambulances designed and designated specifically for mothers in labour and new-borns, have had to be used to transport very ill patients as a desperate measure, which has then put the new-borns at risk of exposure to infectious diseases.

"I have written to the new MEC of Health, Sindiswa Gomba, to establish why the reckless decision was taken to move all ambulances out of Motherwell.

"Ambulances should be strategically placed across all big communities in the metro in order to service patients as quickly and effectively as possible," Cowley added.

"In emergency trauma care, the first hour after an incident can make the difference between life and death. This is known as the 'golden hour'.

"The poor response time and lack of ambulances in Nelson Mandela Bay means that the fates of patients in outlying areas such as Motherwell and KwaNobuhle are sealed, as ambulances will never reach them in time."

She said that the DA believes that setting up satellite ambulance services across the Metro will assist greatly in improving ambulance response time.

"The international norm is one ambulance per 10 000 residents. The Eastern Cape would therefore need 650 functional ambulances. Currently the province has approximately 200 functional ambulances – less than a third that we require to serve all communities," Cowley said.

"This Eastern Cape Department of Health is sitting with contingent liability in excess of R24 billion – exactly the same amount as its annual budget for the current financial year.

"Through delaying service delivery and extending ambulance response times, the department is exposing itself to further litigation – something it cannot afford."

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