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Ambulance service fails to deliver

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Following inquiries to the ambulance personnel if there was a fault with their telephone line and if there was a shortage of ambulances, but they only replied by shrugging their shoulders

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DESPITE 27 new ambulances having been handed over to the Northern Cape by Premier Dr Zamani Saul earlier this month, a Kimberley family has slammed the provincial Department of Health after a mother gave birth at home on the weekend while waiting in vain for an ambulance to arrive.

Cherene Hermans gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday night while waiting for an ambulance to arrive to transport her to hospital.

Hermans’ aunt, Jessica Hermans, told the DFA yesterday that the family had started phoning the Northern Cape emergency services at around 8.15pm, after it was suspected that her niece would be going into labour.

“Despite numerous attempts, no one answered the phones. We eventually phoned the police to request them to call for an ambulance. Meanwhile, my niece’s water broke at around 8.45pm and we had to frantically search the neighbourhood for a nurse to come and assist her. Eventually a community member who is a nurse arrived and delivered the baby at home. An ambulance only arrived after 10pm when the nurse and her husband had already transported my niece and the baby to Kimberley Hospital,” Jessica said yesterday.

She added that she had asked the ambulance personnel if there was a fault with their telephone line and if there was a shortage of ambulances, but they only replied by shrugging their shoulders.

Jessica said the incident had left her “disappointed”.

Meanwhile, it was reported that two women had to give birth “in a back room, with no beds” at Galeshewe Day Hospital on Saturday.

It was reported that the two women were referred from Barkly West and delivered their babies on a floor of a back room at Galeshewe Day Hospital.

Media enquiries about the incidents, directed to Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo, had by yesterday afternoon not been answered.