R4m owed to private ambulances – DA NWest

Gavin Edwards says provincial health dept not capable of delivering emergency services

NW Health’s inability to deliver emergency services results in R4 million owed to private ambulances

22 February 2021

Note to Editors: Kindly find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by DA North West Spokesperson on Health, Gavin Edwards.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West has submitted written questions to the MEC for the Department of Health, MadodaSambatha, requesting him to explain how the Department's failure to provide effective, efficient emergency services has resulted in R4 million in debt to private ambulance services.

The MEC should explain how a Department, with a budget of R408 million, of which R162 million has been allocated to the payment of contractors and special services, still failed to pay invoices within the prescribed 30 days.

While the Covid-19 Pandemic and the associated lockdown has had a devastating financial impact on residents of the North West, private ambulances have been expected to continue providing vital support without payment.

In Klerksdorp, a private ambulance service has been unable to pay staff full salaries for more than 5 months. Many of the paramedics have lost their private vehicles and assets, and their children have been affected by the inability to pay school fees. Continued failure by of the Department of Health to settle the outstanding invoices will see private services closing their doors.

The Provincial Emergency Services is hampered by a shortage of staff, road worthy vehicles and equipment, which is currently dismally failing those in need of urgent medical care.

The DA has previously written to the MEC to raise our concerns, but to date, no attempt has been made to embark on a turnaround strategy.

It is an absolute shame that, while the ANC Government has nominated the Cuban Doctors for a Nobel Peace Prize, they have completely neglected their own responsibility of paying service providers on time.

Issued by Gavin EdwardsDA North West Spokesperson on Health, 22 February 2021