Ambulance service blame game shifts

2014-06-07 00:00

SOME of the blame for the dire shortage of Department of Health ambulances in KZN has been shifted to the service provider responsible for maintaining the government’s fleet.

Half the fleet in the uMgungundlovu area is not functioning while in other parts of the province bakkies are being used as alternatives.

Department of Health spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi yesterday admitted that the province’s ambulance service has been severely affected. He said they were forced to keep ambulances awaiting service off the road rather than compromise patient care and safety on the roads.

He explained that the change of their service provider contributed to the problem.

Sources in the department told Weekend Witness that a skeleton fleet is operating as a result of the change in service provider, saying some were broken down while others merely had expired licence discs.

Mkhwanazi said the shortage of ambulances was being experienced nationwide since the change of service provider.

“Unfortunately since the vehicle fleet management takeover by Transit Solutions as of April 1, 2014, most provinces have reportedly experienced problems with the company’s services especially in the area of Emergency Medical Services. One of the critical issues of concern is that Transit Solutions do not have a database of service merchants available in KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.

He added that the use of bakkies that are not permanent patient transporters is a temporary measure to ensure patient care is not compromised due to lack of ambulances.


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