KwaZulu-Natal has to use emergency and rescue vehicles for critical patients, the provincial health department said on Friday.
Spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said this was because of problems with the company responsible for servicing the department's ambulances.
The company, Transit Solutions, was recently awarded the contract by the National Treasury and national transport department, in collaboration with Standard Bank Fleet Management, via a national tender.
Since Transit Solutions took over on April 1, most provinces had reportedly had problems, especially with emergency medical services.
On Tuesday, Independent Online reported a shortage of working ambulances had forced paramedics in parts of KwaZulu-Natal to take patients to hospital in their rapid response bakkies.
The “emergency bakkies” were double-cab vehicles with canopies.
Mkhwanazi said one of the problems was that Transit Solutions did not have a database of places where ambulances could be serviced in KwaZulu-Natal.
“This has affected the KZN department of health's ability to provide an efficient and reliable ambulance service,” he said.
“The ambulance service of the department... has been severely affected... as it was forced to keep ambulances awaiting service off the road rather than compromise patient care.”
Emergency and rescue vehicles were being used as a temporary measure.
Mkhwanazi said the department had taken up the matter with Transit Solutions to resolve the servicing problems.
“(We) regret the inconvenience this has caused to patients.” - Sapa