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Mpumalanga gets new ambulances after pressure from FF Plus

The FF Plus welcomes the procurement of 39 essential and new ambulances – to the value of more than R45 million – for Mpumalanga’s inadequate fleet.

This follows constant pressure from the FF Plus, since 2020, for a solution to the critical ambulance shortage.

The 39 ambulances include: ten mobile critical-unit vehicles, three psychiatric ambulances, three response vehicles and 21 traditional ambulances.

Thus far, declining healthcare services and the shortage of ambulances, in particular, posed a serious problem for Mpumalanga.

The FF Plus had requested the provincial MEC for Health, Ms Sasekane Manzini, on various occasions through meetings, motions and letters to urgently look into the shortage.

Ms Manzini confirmed in a reply to written questions in 2022 that the province only had 76 working ambulances at its disposal. In 2023, there were even less with a mere 60 working ambulance, which were supposed to serve a population of more than four million healthcare consumers.

That is not even close to the number of 450, which the Department says the province needs. There ought to be one ambulance for every 10 000 people.

Ms Manzini also stated that the Department will aim to buy ten new ambulances per year from now on, but that the overall number of ambulances will not necessarily increase as it is unclear how many ambulances will become unusable.

At present, the Department spends R50 million on maintaining its current ambulances.

It is, however, not only a matter of buying new ambulances as the Department also does not have enough trained personnel, 74% of whom have only completed a basic first-aid course of four weeks.

There are more than 100 clinics in Mpumalanga that have no consulting doctors, and there are hundreds of patients in hospitals awaiting operations due to the lack of surgeons and specialists.

These are some of the human resource challenges highlighted in a third-quarter Health Committee report, which was tabled in Mpumalanga’s Provincial Legislature in February.

The time has come to rid this ANC-controlled Department of cadre deployment, and to put a stop to the misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.

Mpumalanga deserves better than the ANC.

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