Long weekend keeps EMS first responders busy | Western Cape Government



Long weekend keeps EMS first responders busy

19 December 2022

Being considerate is an essential part of sharing the road and ensuring the safety of all road users, but unfortunately over this long weekend too many road users did not demonstrate this courtesy. Paramedics respond to a staggering 47 incidents involving pedestrians in the Cape Metro region. The Western Cape Department of Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) appeals to motorists to travel more slowly when approaching pedestrians, and for pedestrians to wear visible clothing when they walk next to a road. The fewer incidents on our roads, the more quickly our response agencies can attend to other emergencies. 

Across the province it was an unusually busy long weekend on the roads for the EMS as paramedics responded to a total of 187 road traffic-related incidents, including:

  • 92 in the Cape Metro,
  • 35 in Cape Winelands,
  • 27 in Garden Route,
  • 16 in Overberg,
  • 12 on the West Coast, and
  • 5 in Central Karoo.

For the entire weekend, the EMS attended to 6 162 incidents in the province, of which 31% was attributed to life-threatening conditions that required urgent treatment.

The main incident types included weapon assaults (1 068), chest pain/ discomfort (931); respiratory complaints (535); physical assaults (494); obstetric complaints (367); neurological complaints (281); abdominal complaints (247); domestic injuries (237), vomiting/ diarrhoea (216), and musculoskeletal complaints (206).

As the year draws to a close, the EMS will continue to respond to calls for help, 24/7, in communities by saving lives from heart attacks, treating injuries due to road traffic incidents, transporting clients between health care facilities, and providing care in response to many other incidents that occur daily in our province. 

Trauma-related cases in the Western Cape

From 00h00 on Friday morning to 08h30 Monday (today), 3 661 trauma cases presented to 43 emergency centres (ECs) across the province linked to our Hospital Emergency Centre Triage and Information System (HECTIS) system. Please note that not all ECs are linked to the HECTIS system.

Our hospitals and 24-hour community health centres (CHC) are geared for the increase in expected cases although most of the trauma cases are preventable. Most of the reported trauma cases were seen within the Cape Metro at facilities such as Delft CHC (220), Kraaifontein CHC (195), Khayelitsha Hospital (194), Tygerberg Hospital (184) Mitchells Plain Hospital (168), Gugulethu CHC (167) and Paarl Hospital (167).      

In addition to these trauma cases, EMS also treated 6 712 patients coming for non-trauma related health care at our ECs.

Over holiday periods, unfortunately, we do see many motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other trauma cases of injuries due to interpersonal violence and chronic conditions which deteriorate and require medical care. Our colleagues in the Mobility department have done several road-safety awareness campaigns for the festive season and will also have significant law enforcement officers on important routes to ensure that road-users obey the rules of the road.