Private ambulance crew locked in state hospital

2015-04-01 12:50
It was this picture of King Edward VIII hospital staff standing around that resulted in paramedics being prevented from leaving. (Supplied)

It was this picture of King Edward VIII hospital staff standing around that resulted in paramedics being prevented from leaving. (Supplied)

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Durban - Paramedics from a private ambulance service were locked into Durban's King Edward VIII hospital after they started photographing hospital workers allegedly holding a meeting instead of attending to patients arriving at the hospital's accident end emergency department.

Rescue Care's operations manager Garrith Jamieson said on Wednesday that the incident happened when an ambulance arrived with two people who had been injured in a motor vehicle crash.

Nurses were allegedly having a meeting when the paramedics arrived on Tuesday morning. According to Jamieson the paramedics were left standing with their patients for 10 minutes.

"The paramedics then took a picture of the empty trauma unit and the staff standing together, showing no interest in the two patients that were brought in for help."

This he said incurred the wrath of the nurses and two security officers then allegedly prevented the paramedics from leaving.

"They threatened the paramedics and tried forcing them to proceed to the security office, which the paramedics refused [to do]."

Jamieson said nurses complained that they did not want to help as the paramedics had not called the hospital before they arrived with their patients.

He said the Rescue Care management descended on the hospital, but it was only after a police officer arrived that the security guards opened the gates and allowed the ambulance to leave.

A formal complaint would be lodged with the health department, Jamieson said. 

The department and the security firm that employed the two security guards could not be immediately reached for comment. 

KwaZulu-Natal police said they were not aware of the incident.

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