Western Cape Government Health Geared for Emergencies During Festive Season
Statistics have shown that during the Festive Season, not only do motor vehicle accidents increase but the number of visitors to Emergency Centres due to festivity related injuries also show an upward trend.
The Western Cape Government Health has a contingency plan in place for the Festive Season and is geared towards any emergency. The Emergency Medical Services’ (EMS) contingency plan will address various risks proactively. This plan has come into effect from 8 December 2014 until 12 January 2015. EMS will provide extended resources on the major arterial routes out of Cape Town including the N1, N2, N7, R62, R61 and R27.
There are a number of hospitals that are situated along the main routes and in popular holiday destinations, these facilities have plans in place to manage the influx of accidents that could occur during this time. Daytime crews at swimming sites are increased on the big public holidays.
A rescue vehicle and ambulance response will be stationed along the N1 and render emergency medical care support to Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Leeu Gamka areas. In addition a twenty three seat bus will be located in Beaufort West to transport uninjured victims of possible public transport accidents. With heavy traffic expected on the N1, the international airfield at Beaufort West was recently launched as the new landing place for Western Cape Government’s EMS aeroplanes and helicopters. This will accelerate responses to emergency situations on the N1, and enable injured patients to reach central hospitals much faster.
EMS will also provide medical support at beaches in Hermanus, Camps Bay, Gordons Bay, Monwabisi, Stranfontein and Muizenberg by supporting the NSRI.
Chief of Operations for the Western Cape Government Health, Dr Beth Engelbrecht says, “In order to ensure an adequate personnel complement during this busy time, our Department is controlling annual leave, and absenteeism. We also use volunteers to assist us during this period and in cases of major incidents would make use of agency staff as well.”
The Department delivers a variety of health services at more than 600 centres throughout the province and attends to 20 million patient contacts annually. It is our goal to ensure that these services continue without interruption during the busy Festive Season. While some staff members will be on leave, the majority of the medical professionals will report for duty at our facilities to ensure quality health services are rendered.
If at all possible, please visit your nearest local clinic for non-life threatening illnesses to ensure that the EC are cleared for emergencies. The Nurse at your clinic is qualified to treat minor injuries and illnesses and knows when a patient should be referred to a hospital for further treatment. Parents and caregivers of toddlers and babies should be especially aware of the dangers of diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Mr Theuns Botha says, “Our Emergency staff and equipment can be compared with the best in the world, and all our facilities are prepared for this festive season. It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure that we are prepared, however it is up to each member of the public to ensure that they behave responsibly and abide by the traffic and other public safety rules. By working together we can enjoy a safe and cheerful Festive Season.”
We wish the citizens of the Western Cape a safe and Happy and safe Festive Season.