Health Prioritises R14 Million to Build EMS Station on "Death Road"
The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, formally opened the EMS Leeu Gamka station on 25 September 2012. A total of 12.5 million of the Health budget was dedicated to the increase of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) infrastructure in the Western Cape.
The anticipated station provides 24-hour emergency medical response and rescue assistance to a population of 2 200 residents from Merweville, Welgemoed, Newtown Park and Bitterwater, a diameter of approximately 250 km. The area was flagged as high priority due to the horrific motor vehicle accidents taking place on the N1 with road users travelling to and from the Eastern Cape/Gauteng/ Cape Town.
The new Leeu Gamka ambulance station provides a full infrastructure, including a waiting room for patients, accommodation for relief crews (from outside of the Karoo) and a helipad for the landing of the rescue helicopters when required.
Health is constantly improving the quality of service provided to the people of the Western Cape. EMS is currently implementing a programme throughout the province that will educate locals from strategic areas as first responders, in the long run increasing the skills of the community and improving the quality of service delivered. In 2005, Health prioritised Leeu Gamka after the community communicated that they were willing to be trained in emergency first response to reduce the transportation and response time to critical accidents taking place on the N1. Shortly after, a set of 20 community members were trained and a satellite station operated out of Leeu Gamka, essential in reducing response times to these accidents. Since then, 11 EMS practitioners operating from the station have been skilled in Intermediate Life Support and as Advanced Life Support Emergency Practitioners.
Western Cape Government Health’s EMS would like to express gratitude to all persons who played an instrumental part in the events of the day, especially the community and key stakeholders who continue to support their dedication to saving lives. Western Cape Government Health will officially open one more emergency medical station in the West Coast District next week.