Concern over roadworthiness and maintenance of Northern Cape Department of Health ambulances
AN AMBULANCE that was transporting a patient, who had gone into labour, from Jan Kempdorp to Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on Monday broke down en route to Kimberley.
There are only two working ambulances to provide patient transport services in Jan Kempdorp, Warrenton, Hartswater and Pampierstad.
If both ambulances are on the road, there are no ambulances available to attend to emergencies in the area.
Despite reporting the apparent poor roadworthy condition of the ambulances to the Northern Cape Department of Health, the vehicles are allegedly not being properly maintained and are not serviced, even though ambulances operating in the area have clocked in over 700,000 kilometres on the odometer.
When the ambulance en route to Kimberley broke down on Monday, at around 4pm, concern was raised that the baby would have to be delivered on the side of the road.
However, another ambulance was dispatched from Kimberley to collect the patient, at around 5pm.
The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Health, Lebogang Majaha, said on Tuesday that another ambulance was immediately dispatched to the scene to transport the maternity patient to the intended destination after the ambulance in which she was travelling experienced trouble on the N12 just outside Kimberley
“No complications were sustained by the patient en route to the referral hospital,” said Majaha.
He indicated that while emergency care officers were trained in handling uncomplicated maternity cases, including the delivery of babies, the said patient was successfully transported to hospital before the birth.
“There is no clear indication of the reason why the ambulance broke down at this stage as this is still being investigated,” added Majaha.
“All ambulances are serviced and maintained by approved merchants when this is deemed necessary. In the case of an emergency, the department has always made provisions to ensure the service is rendered. The department does not place unroadworthy ambulances on the road.”