State should pay for paramedics’ treatment, says union

 / 17 January 2017, 2:15pm
ANA Reporter

Johannesburg – The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) on Tuesday said it wants the government to pay for the treatment of ambulance staff who have survived attacks on them while responding to calls. 

Hospersa, which has written a letter to Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo on the matter says there are more than 50 of its members who are receiving post-traumatic stress treatment as a result of such attacks. 
The union said there were more than 100 cases reported in 2016, and that the frequency of attacks seemed to be rising. 
“The most recent attacks took place during the festive season where a total of seven incidents were reported. 
“These attacks included cases of armed robbery, stoning of EMS vehicles and the mishandling of staff over their personal belongings,” Hospersa said in a statement. 
Hospersa said affected employees were expected to pay for their treatment because such cases were not covered by the the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act. 
“We want the MEC to intervene in easing the financial burden on the affected members. We want the employer to take an active role in ensuring affected members receive the necessary support,” said Hospersa. 
In the letter to the MEC, the union asks her to reassure EMS members on safety issues pertaining to their working environment. 
Hospersa has previously raised its concerns about safety of its members with the health authorities in the Western Cape. 
“On 14 September 2016, EMS members took part in march through Philippi in the Cape Flats to send a strong message about the rising attacks. On the day, paramedics were joined by the MEC who assured EMS staff that she would stop the service should the attacks continue,” said Hospersa.