Western Cape bans paramedics from entering 'red' zones without police

Ambulance. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Ambulance. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Cape Town - The Western Cape health department has barred all emergency medical service (EMS) personnel from entering certain areas without a police escort.

This after an EMS crew was held at gunpoint in the early hours of Tuesday morning while responding to an emergency call in J-Section, Khayelitsha.

In a statement on Wednesday health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said "red" zones where EMS crews have been attacked more than once had been identified.

"We have put in place procedures to forbid any EMS personnel from entering these zones without escort of the South African Police Service," she said.

Mbombo said the department has introduced situational awareness training, which includes anti-hijacking training, to paramedics.

Ambulance windows have also been fitted with tinted smash-and-grab safety film.

'Attacks erode paramedics' passion'

"Despite our best efforts to protect our staff members, little can be done without the co-operation of the communities that we serve," Mbombo said.  

In a separate incident in December an EMS crew was robbed while attending to a patient in Khayelitsha.

A formal bail application for the three men accused of robbing the paramedics is set to take place on Friday.

Mbombo said she will attend the hearing to show that these "violent" acts will not be tolerated.

"It is crucial to understand that with every attack on our crews, their passion for the service that they render is slowly being eroded," she said.

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