The Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, unveiled 39 new emergency medical service vehicles, costing more than R45 million, on June 30. The premier was joined by the MEC for health, Sasekani Manzini and other government officials.
The vehicles were converted into conventional ambulances, mobile intensive care units, specialised psychiatric transport, primary response vehicles and patient transporters.
Mtshweni-Tsipane said the funds used were from this current financial year. “We have about 157 ambulances in the province, so we are adding to that. As the province, we made an undertaking that we need to increase our ambulance by at least 10 a year. For the first time in the province, we have 10 ICU ambulances that will assist across the province which is a great achievement for us. It does not only focus on adults, it also takes care of new-borns and young ones. It is equipped with an incubator for new-born babies.
We have about 29 conventional ambulances to augment the current fleet we have so that we can reach as many people as we can. We have procured three mental health ambulances so that these patients too can be transported in a much safer and secured space that suits their needs at the time. We have two rapid response ambulances because we are trying to avoid a situation in which there is an accident and there’s no prompt response, particularly if the person is trapped in the car,” Mtshweni-Tsipane explained.
She said through this upgrade, the provincial government is determined to improve resources required to support actions taken by the health practitioners during emergencies. “The fleet will be distributed across the province and stationed in EMS stations supporting various health facilities. Emergency services are the first healthcare service to be received by patients at the scene of an accident or home. The increase in numbers and improvement of the services is paramount in improving response times to emergency calls and contribute in saving lives,” she concluded.