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Pretoria - Poor ambulance response times in Gauteng are putting the lives of more people who are sick or have serious injuries at risk.
Fewer than half of the high-priority cases are reached within 15 minutes, says the Gauteng Health Department’s quarterly report for April to June, tabled in the provincial legislature this week.
Last June, the Pretoria News reported that electrician Mlungisi Dlamini died while waiting almost 20 hours for an ambulance.
There have been similar incidents, and figures indicate the situation is deteriorating.
Earlier this year, DA spokeswoman on community safety Michele Clarke reportedly said the Ekurhuleni geographical area required 93 ambulances, yet only 30 were operational.
According to the quarterly report, only 47 percent of ambulances arrived within 15 minutes of being called. This was lower than last year’s 52 percent and under the 70-percent target. In rural areas, the proportion of responses within 40 minutes dropped to 75 percent, compared with last year’s 95 percent.
The emergency response within 60 minutes was 47 percent, lower than last year’s 77 percent and the 80 percent target.
“I am really disappointed that no progress has been made in improving our shocking ambulance service, despite promises by Health MEC Hope Papo,” said DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom.
“Drastic steps are needed.”
Gauteng Health Department spokesman Simon Zwane said the department was aware of the dire need for ambulances and was on a drive to acquire 120 new ones.