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21 June 2018

Hospersa has condemned last night’s attack on an ambulance in the Northam area of Limpopo province.  This attack has once again raised the alarm bells on the safety concerns of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel.  The Union has reiterated its calls on government to address the EMS personnel’s plea for safe working conditions.  

According to reports, two EMS personnel were attacked at around 9pm last night in the Northam area of Limpopo province.  They were driving from Polokwane to Northam EMS station when they came across what looked like an accident scene.  The EMS personnel stopped to offer assistance only to find that it was a group of people staging a scene in order to lure them to stop the ambulance.  The unidentified group then assaulted them and burned the ambulance.  The two EMS personnel managed to escape and ran into the nearby bushes in order to save their lives.  They have since been admitted to hospital for treatment of the wounds sustained during the ordeal.

“We strongly condemn the attack on the ambulance crew,” said Hospersa Public Relations officer, Kevin Halama.  “The fact that members of communities prey on those who serve them, is deplorable.  Government needs to accelerate efforts in addressing the safety concerns of EMS personnel as they are now being targeted by senseless criminals,” added Halama.

Hospersa members at Northam EMS station have been psychologically traumatised by the news of this incident and fear going out to offer emergency medical assistance in the area.  This morning, the Union sent a letter to the Limpopo acting EMS Operational Manager requesting urgent intervention. 

“We know that it is our members’ duty to respond to calls, but it should not be the expense of putting their own lives at risk.  The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act makes provision for employees to refuse to work in unsafe conditions, however the conundrum for EMS workers is that their refusal could lead to communities being deprived of such a critical service,” said Halama.

“Attacks on EMS personnel prompted Hospersa to propose several sustainabe solutions to Government which includes police escorts, violent incident training as well as post-traumatic stress treatment for the victims.  However, government’s response in addressing this issue continues to be slow,” added Halama.

“What is clear is that the safety of EMS personnel needs to be prioritised as they are the first to respond to medical emergencies.  We will continue engaging with government on finding solutions to improve their safety when in the line of duty,” concluded Halama.



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For interviews please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer, Kevin Halama on 060-546-8166.

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