Western Cape Community Safety Minister Dan Plato says reports of paramedics arming themselves to go about their duties are a concern for government.
The Western Cape Health and Community Safety departments have launched a pilot project to deploy neighbourhood watch members with paramedics in identified hotspots such as Khayelitsha, Lavender Hill, Elsies River and Hanover Park.
There were almost 70 violent incidents, including assault, involving paramedics in these areas last year. Plato says they are worried about that the incidents. “Medical personnel must go and stop blood and provide patients with oxygen. Now, if they begin to carry guns, the question I immediately ask is where does it stop? Today it’s a gun, tomorrow it’s a rifle. No, we as government can’t allow that to happen.”
Paramedics in the province have said on a daily basis, they worry about their safety while out on duty in dangerous areas. Paramedic Aqueela Davids, say she doesn’t know what to expect once she’s been dispatched from the base. She says paramedics are scared of their surroundings, saying once they are off their work vehicles, no one else is there to protect them.
Provincial Health Minister Theuns Botha has said at least 20 of the experienced incidents have been life-threatening.
Read the original here:Armed on-duty paramedics a concern: Plato – South African Broadcasting Corporation.