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GSD highlights ambulance concerns

Photo by Johnny Bugeja,

The GSD on Friday said it has been informed that the GHA’s ambulances “are frequently in a state of disrepair”, adding that this is having “an increasingly alarming impact on the safety and wellbeing of patients”.

In a statement, the party said it had heard of an incident where an ambulance transporting a critical patient to Xanit from Gibraltar for an emergency procedure broke down on the way.

“Due to the fault with the transport ambulance, the patient had to be transported back to Gibraltar, where they were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at St Bernard’s Hospital, which cannot carry out the procedure that was needed,” the GSD said.

It added that this is also compromising the safety of the ambulance crew and clinicians treating those patients.

The GSD is calling on the Government to address the “glaring problems” affecting the GHA’s ambulance fleet on an urgent basis.

Shadow Minister for Health, Joelle Ladislaus, said: “The current state of the ambulance fleet is wholly unsatisfactory and it is clear that, at least some, of those crucial emergency vehicles are not roadworthy nor fit for purpose in their current state.”

“The condition of the ambulance fleet cannot be permitted to interfere with the care afforded to members of our community, as has recently occurred.”

“Last week our hard-working paramedics and clinicians were faced with a life-or-death scenario in which they were rendered powerless to assist their patient.”

“A situation like this cannot be allowed to happen again and immediate action must be taken to ensure that our ambulance fleet is updated and maintained to a high standard.”

Later in the day the Government said it has been exploring options in relation to the ambulance fleet and this week held numerous meetings to ensure the longevity of the operation and maintenance of the ambulance fleet.

“Short, medium and long term action plans were already in train and have been confirmed,” a spokesperson for No.6 Convent Place said.

“The safety and wellbeing of patients will not be impacted.”

The Government said the process of ordering new ambulances “was already occurring”, and added that the arrival of the new GHA ambulances has been affected by the global delays in the delivery of vehicles.

Minister for Health, Gemma Arias Vasquez, said: “We are familiar with the issue which has occurred and have been in touch with the family concerned.”

“We are confident that plans have been put in place to ensure that patient safety is not impacted.”

“The process of ordering new ambulances was already occurring prior to this week’s incident.”

“We will commence to see the arrival of these ambulances in the next few weeks.”

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