Minister Nomafrench Mbombo visits SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services (AMS) | Western Cape Government

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Minister Nomafrench Mbombo visits SA Red Cross Air Mercy Services (AMS)

13 September 2022

On Friday, 9 September, Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, visited the Air Mercy Services (AMS) base and met their new CEO, Mr Farhaad Haffejee. AMS airlifts critical patients from rural areas to our more specialised hospitals, including Tygerberg Hospital, Red Cross Memorial Hospital, New Somerset Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital. The chairpersons of the Hospital Facility Boards were invited to learn more about the services rendered at their facilities. This is an important collaboration for the Western Cape Government, through which access to quality emergency care via air medical services (AMS) is delivered. 

Mr. Craig Wylie, the director for Emergency Medical Services, says that an important focus for the department is to do its utmost to ensure quality care for patients across the province, despite resource constraints and a wide area to cover: “AMS affords us the ability to serve critical patients from rural areas faster. It also means that vehicle ambulances in those areas are retained there to deal with any other emergencies which might arise.” 

AMS operates from two bases in Western Cape - one in Cape Town and one in Oudtshoorn, Eden district. 

The fixed wing emergency air ambulance service is provided from the AMS Cape Town base via a fully equipped 24-hour air ambulance Pilatus PC 12, which offers a versatile platform to airlift multiple patients and access rural areas such as Beaufort West, George and Vredendal. During the last 10 years, more than 7 300 patients which includes neonatal, and obstetric emergencies, have been airlifted with the Pilatus PC 12, with more than 3.2 million kilometers flown. 

Ms Manette De Jager, chairperson of the Tygerberg Hospital Facility Board stated: “We have a deep care for all the residents of our communities and we want to give them the best possible service. What is significant to see is the passion and dedication shown by all and how it works together in the best interests of our communities.” 

AMS also provides development programmes including a cadet pilot development programme where young pilots are given the opportunity to build their knowledge and experience with access to industry leading training and dedicated staff, to realise their dreams of taking to the skies as First Officers through the various airlines. 

“We believe in investing in the future by developing skilled specialists and making a significant contribution to South Africa’s skills set. To this end, the AMS offers value added services contributing to the development of the aviation, health, and other industries,” said CEO, Mr Farhaad Haffejee. 

Minister Mbombo expressed her pride in the crucial partnership with AMS: “As a government, we strive for this type of collaboration, as it adds an unquestionable value to the residents of the Western Cape, saving lives of those in need of critical emergency care. We thank the dedicated team at AMS who work tirelessly on the job to make a real difference to our communities”.