15 January 2015

Shortage forcing paramedics to buy medical supplies

There is a shortage of basic medical items in Ekurhuleni, forcing paramedics to ration what is available, borrow from elsewhere and even buy from their own pockets.


There are fears that Gauteng could suffer from a shortage of basic medical supplies after the department of health admitted that Ekurhuleni is running out of items.

"Currently, there are low levels of basic medical supplies in the Ekurhuleni area, however service delivery has not been compromised," said department of health spokesperson Prince Hamnca on Thursday.

He said the department was sourcing basic medical supplies from other districts who had excess stock and sending it to Ekurhuleni to maintain acceptable disposable stock levels.

"This challenge was caused by a supplier who accepted orders from the department and failed to deliver the required stock and quantities and not non-payment as alleged," he said.

He said Gauteng emergency medical services had since cancelled orders with the supplier who failed to honour the delivery schedules, and had placed orders with another supplier.

Erratic  supplies

DA spokesperson on health, Jack Bloom, said medical consumables were ordered from the Gauteng health department, but supplies had been erratic and grossly inadequate for about a year.

"It appears that the problem is due to the non-payment of suppliers."

He said the shortage seemed to be spreading in Gauteng but, Ekurhuleni was the most affected.

"The shortage differs from one region to another," he said.

Bloom said there was a shortage of bandages and other basic medical items for Ekurhuleni ambulances, which forced paramedics to ration what was available, borrow from elsewhere or even buy from their own pockets.

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Image: Tablets and medicines from Shutterstock.


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