The department of health has bought 141 new ambulances and patient transport vehicles.
The ambulances are 4×4 vehicles, with the department saying they met the need for vehicles with high ground clearance to get to remote areas of the province.
In an interview with the Dispatch, health MEC Dr Pumza Dyantyi said they had secured R41-million for 85 mobile clinics and 141 ambulances in the 2016-17 financial year.
She said the vehicles would be released in instalments.
“The vehicles have been bought and they are currently in the transformation stage.
“We are getting trackers as well as medical equipment installed.
“The vehicles are also getting branded,” she said.
Of the 141 vehicles acquired by the department, 21 ambulances and 11 patient transport vehicles were released for use on Friday.
“Ambulances are emergency vehicles and therefore they are key to service delivery.
“Communities will benefit because they will get services quicker.
“Hopefully this will decrease the number of deaths as well,” she said.
The vehicles, according to Dyantyi, will all have been released for use by the end of June.
Dyantyi said because of the size and population of the province, there ought to be 650 ambulances, but currently there are only 400 vehicles.
“Some of the 400 vehicles are not on the road because they need repairs.
“For each of the ambulances to run for 24 hours, there needs to be 10 staff members, but currently we only have eight.
“When we increase our ambulance fleet to 650, we will ensure that the staff complements that,” Dyantyi said. — Siya Tsewu