Health dept takes steps to prevent attacks on paramedics

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THE Gauteng Department of Health is pursuing multiple efforts and strategies to address and prevent attacks on paramedics.

This after a patient was killed inside an ambulance in a mob attack in Attridgeville, Tshwane, on Monday night, 21 November.

The department said the community members in the Mshongoville squatter camp also attacked emergency services personnel who were attending to the patient.

The efforts it wants pursue include the Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) which has profiled areas and calls that may be hoaxes to advise the crews and security cluster when dispatching Emergency Medical Services (EMS) resources.

Health spokesman Motalatale Modiba said standard operating procedures on management and prevention of possible paramedic attacks have been developed and they have established engagement with Community Policing Forums and police in districts and sub-districts to escort and accompany ambulances.

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“Gauteng EMS has been meeting with community safety and community leaders (including ward leaders) and we are extending the services of the Employee Health Wellness Program (EHWP) to 24 hours for all EMS personnel, for trauma diffusion, counselling and referral to social workers,” he said.

For safety purposes, he said the roll-out of safety and security equipment for personnel and vehicles are in the final stages.

The roll-out of panic button devices linked to the ECC in all ambulances and response cars, linked to security services in identified areas, is also being finalised.

After a traumatic incident, paramedics receive psychological assistance.

He said there is also continuous monitoring of officials when they return to normal duties.

Despite the attacks, the paramedics continue to respond to an increased volume of calls.

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