Hospitals, clinics remain open for festive season

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Clinics, hospitals and emergency services will remain operational throughout the festive season.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa made this announcement at a media briefing outlining the department’s state of readiness for the festive season.

“Management, professional and support staff will be available to provide health services should the need arise.”

More ambulances for emergency personnel

“Unfortunately the festive and holiday season is also characterized by high incidents of trauma cases from motor vehicle accidents, stabbing and gunshot wounds and child injuries, amongst others.

“In an effort to improve quality, access and response time to its services, the department has beefed up the number of ambulances in its fleet,” said the MEC.

According to the department, the Emergency Medical Services total budget increased by 6% from R1.1 billion in 2016/17 to R1.2 billion in 2017/18 which made way for the purchase of ambulances.

Procurement of these ambulances was done in two phases. In the first phase, 164 new ambulances, 10 Planned Patient Transporters and four Physically Challenged Specialized Units (PSCU) were bought.

In the second phase, 64 new ambulances were procured and 20 other vehicles will be purchased.

“This brings the total number of operational ambulances to 862 in the province. All vehicles are added to the Gauteng Health Service platform and bring the total fleet to 1 268 vehicles,” said MEC Ramokgopa.

The MEC condemned the attacks on EMS Personnel and called on communities to protect the personnel and expose those who are behind the attacks.

Health tips for the festive season

MEC Ramokgopa called on citizens to take precaution this festive season and:

  • Drink responsibly, ask someone else to drive; avoid fights, do not carry a weapon and take extra care on crossing roads;
  • Remember there is an outbreak of Listeriosis in the province which resulted in 28 deaths. In light of this, wash your hands before preparing food, before eating and after going to the toilet;
  • Ensure safe sex, use condoms, enquire about male medical circumcision, be faithful to your partner and, especially for young people, abstain until you are ready is still an option of choice;
  • Those on chronic medication, such as ARV’s or TB treatment, plan ahead to ensure adherence to treatment;  
  • Children should be encouraged to play with parents and guardians providing supervision, including at New Year’s fireworks festivities, to reduce risks of injury; and
  • Pregnant mothers should try to remain close to a health facility in case they need medical attention.

In light of the department’s financial constraints, communities and staff were urged to use the available resources efficiently.

“Let me conclude by wishing those who will be going out of the province for the holidays a safe trip. Let's celebrate in a manner that protects the vulnerable in our communities, especially children, and let us be ambassadors of healthy lifestyles,” said MEC Ramokgopa. –