Friday, May 22, 2009

A new day and another step back to the stone age.

A particular EXPERT who once spent a few months in Soweto constantly reminds us that we should be very happy with the standards and direction that we are enjoying in the new South Africa. I am not sure as to what their personal standard of living is that they find this is acceptable, or what country they are using as a bench mark.

This country was never Somalia. South Africa had the roads, rail, electricity, health services and skills on par with any European or American state. Should we now be satisfied that we are one step ahead of Somalia just because this is Africa?

We had a first world country, and we still have most of the skills and we simply cannot accept that this is now good enough. The ANC government does have the recourses to maintain the first world infrastructure, but the comrades simply choose to spend this money on Mo√ęt&Chandon, Johnny walker blue label and body guards.

Each and every new day our beloved country takes one giant leap backwards and with every step it becomes more expensive and difficult to return to the only thriving beacon of progress and prosperity in Africa this country once was, and should be.

SHOCKING new claims have been made about the state of
Nelson Mandela Bay‘s Bhisho-run ambulance service.

Disgruntled staff met yesterday to discuss ongoing problems in the city‘s Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS), saying they had to work with a skeleton staff, just six emergency vehicles, no protective clothing and no payments for dangerous work and overtime.

The latest claim
s come as the city prepares to host next year‘s soccer World Cup, which requires an efficient ambulance service. Another requirement is an upgrade to Livingstone Hospital, which is behind schedule because of a dispute with contractors over payment.

The employees who spoke to The Herald yesterday, on condition of anonymity, claimed that: In the past three years, they had worked without protective clothing, exposing themselves to extreme drug resistant and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis from patien
ts who they transported to hospitals.

Some of the ambulances were mann
ed by paramedics with only very basic training, who by law could not administer drips and drugs. In other areas like Somerset East, Graaff-Reinet, Humansdorp and Port Alfred, ambulances were often manned by the drivers only, leaving the patients they were transporting unattended – something strictly forbidden by law.

A single ambulance should have two crew members, one with basic training and the other with intermediate training. Bay paramedics were not getting paid for working overtime, public holidays, Sundays, night shift and for dangerous work. Emergency vehicles were old, some with more than 150000km on the clock – the department‘s threshold for retirement.

More than 35 old emergency vehicles were parked in a shed, waiting to be repaired. As a result of these problems, many staff members were off on stress leave for months on end, leaving the services with a skeleton

Employees also say the Health Department should stop misleading the public about ambulance services being ready for 2010.

“They are misleading the public if they say Port Elizabeth is ready for 2010. We can‘t even cope with our own people, how are we going to cope for 2010,” a paramedic said.

Another employee said paramedics could never respond on time to emergency calls. A long-serving paramedic said that in 1987 the city was served by 18 vehicles, a far cry from the six that
now served an 80km radius, including places like Thornhill and Kinkelbos.

Another said ambulance staff had to transport TB patients without protective gear. “The ambulances are not even disinfected – we get exposed. The last time uniforms were issued was in 2007. We have to give newly recruited people our old uniform so they can look presentable.”

One employee said he had seen two ambulances which had respectively done about 200000km and 350000km. The EMRS was run by the municipality until 2003, when the ad
ministration was taken over by Bhisho. EMRS director Shanks Maharaj acknowledged the problems.

“There is a shortage of ambulances. Many have reached old age and many of them have not been replaced. They consistently break down.” However, he said the matter was receiving attention at the “highest level”.

“We are making every effort to rectify the situation, but we are a government entity and we have regulations. “Our MEC (Phumulo Masualle) and head of department (Lawrence Boya) are looking
at the issue.”

He also acknowledged that a lot of money in overtime pay was owed to many employees.

“We have established a task team to look into the claims, and legitimate ones are being addressed, but it‘s a process.

“We have more than 2000 staff in the province and some of the claims date back years. They must be patient. We will have it finalised soon.

“We are committed to paying all legitimate claims.” He said the lack of paramedics was a result of the lack of vehicles. “I can‘t hire people if I don‘t have vehicles.”

The medical staff have to work under these conditions while their MEC`s are sipping champagne.

Is this not a carbon copy of Zimbabwe?

Only 19 Metro paramedics

KZN medical rescue crisis

Health MEC arrested

Gauteng health dept 'needs R5bn to turn around the health system

MEC denies row over R7,2m house

MEC accused of giving State project to ANC

1 Opinion(s):

Cate Munro said...

I could write this about my own country - a new day and another step back to the stone age. Politicians with their greedy fat snouts in the trough, whilst the rest of the country works their asses - crumbling before our very eyes. I know how you feel.
The only difference being, your country had the balls to hold an election. We have a country desperate for an election and a government who won't grant one. I smell a revolution.