Pretoria -The Western Cape Department of Transport has handed over 71 new ambulances to the Health Department in a bid to strengthen emergency services during the 2010 FIFA World Cup,.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony on Wednesday, Health MEC Theuns Botha said the new ambulances will ensure that both tourists and the people of the Western Cape are provided with prompt, reliable and quality medical services during the world cup.
He said the ambulances will replace a number of older vehicles in the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) fleet and will result in around 76 percent of the 244 vehicles in the fleet having less than 200 000 km on the odometer.
"This will enable the Western Cape EMS to maintain a well looked after fleet that has low mileage and greatly assists EMS personnel in performing their duties efficiently and effectively," Botha said.
Botha explained that due to the vehicles' greater efficiency over long distances, the Toyota Quantum ambulances will be used in rural areas, while the larger Volkswagen ambulances will be used to meet the higher demand in the Cape Town area.
"Our fleet has now been capacitated to the extent that we are able to deploy 130 ambulances. We aim to respond to priority calls within 15 minutes in urban areas and an hour in rural areas," he said.
Transport MEC, Robin Carlisle, said the new ambulances will relieve the burden on the existing fleet and will enable the EMS to reach all corners of the province any time of the day