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January 2017

The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) has raised concerns regarding a recent accident involving an ambulance in the Northern Cape.  The accident led to the death of a patient and one paramedic, while another paramedic was hospitalised.  The Union suspects that poor maintenance and substandard maintenance might have been the cause of the accident.

Hospersa received reports of an accident taking place on 15 January 2017 between Carnarvron and De Aar in the Northern Cape.  According to the reports the accident was caused by a tyre blowout, which led to the vehicle losing control and overturning about 30 km from Vosburg.  Both Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers as well as the patient were cast from the ambulance, which subsequently burst into flames.  Both the patient and one of the EMS workers lost their lives due to the incident.  The other EMS worker was rushed off the scene and is lying in hospital in a stable but critical condition.

The Union has since heard of rumours that the ambulance was actually not fully roadworthy, and that it had been fitted with retread tyres.  One of the anonymous callers actually claimed that the accident was not caused by a mere tyre burst, but that the tread on one of the tyres came loose which was the primary cause of the burst in the first place.

“Even though Hospersa does not operate on rumours or shaky facts, we must admit that such stories are a cause for concern,” said Desfontaines.  “We have heard such anecdotal relations regarding poor ambulance maintenance due to various factors in the past, and we would like to see an official investigation probing the real cause of this accident and the tragic death of the patient and our member,” Desfontaines concluded.


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For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines – 083-321-4427.

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