New ambulances for Limpopo

New ambulances for Limpopo(File photo)

The province has received 60 new ambulances and another 40 ambulances worth more than R40 million are expected to be distributed between the province’s five districts with a year.

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The Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga have all recently admitted to running short on emergency ambulances (File photo)
The Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga have all recently admitted to running short on emergency ambulances (File photo)

Premier Chupu Mathabatha handed over the ambulances as well as four forensic vehicles in late August. Some of the new ambulances will be converted into obstetric ambulances that work to ensure that women in labour reach health facilities in time to deliver babies safely.

“The province has made an assurance during the departmental budget speech earlier this year to prioritise the procurement of ambulances so that the people of Limpopo benefit from these services and their quality of health is improved,” Mathabatha told OurHealth.

The vehicles are expected to ease the shortage of emergency medical services (EMS) vehicles as a result of an aging fleet as the province strives to meet national norms in response times. These norms dictate that EMS vehicles reach patients within 15 minutes in urban areas and 40 minutes in rural areas.

In its 2013/14 annual report, the Limpopo Department of Health committed to ensuring that 70 percent of all emergency calls were responded to within these timeframes by 2019.

“You will understand that EMS cars over-work because of the nature of their demand and road conditions,” said Provincial Government Spokesperson Phuti Seloba. “Because of that, this makes them to age quickly. This fleet will definitely help to address the challenges we were facing.”

As of 2013/14, the province had 425 ambulances. This figure was more than 100 vehicles short of the 540-vehicle ambulance fleet needed to meet national standards.