‘Attacks on healthcare workers will lead to communities suffering’

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CEO of the South African Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Association (SAPAESA), Oliver Wright says the attacks on paramedics in Gauteng will ultimately see communities suffering from a lack of emergency services.

He was responding to the increased number of attacks on healthcare workers in the province as police have now established a team of detectives to investigate.

Wright says it’s disappointing that those who risk their lives to help communities are now fearful of doing their jobs.

“It’s very disappointing. The biggest impact will actually be felt by the community themselves. Unfortunately, when things like this happen, the ambulance operator, whether provincial or private, ends up designating that area as an unsafe area. That means, ambulances won’t be allowed to respond into those areas in future when there is a medical emergency so ultimately, the community will suffer.”

Investigate attacks

Gauteng police say a team of detectives led by a senior officer will investigate the attacks against emergency workers in the province.

In the latest incident, the Gauteng Emergency Medical Services crew was hijacked, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed of their personal belongings in Mamelodi, Pretoria, late last month. The criminals also stole their bank cards.

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masando says police are taking these attacks on emergency workers in a very serious light.

“All the cases that are related to the attacks on members of Emergency Medical Services in Gauteng have been escalated to the provincial office. A team of detectives that is led by the senior officer has been established to investigate all the cases and search for the suspects.”