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24 December 2011

Emergency building goes to the dogs

The appalling state of the Emergency Medical Rescue Services in Durban has led to the building becoming a home for cats, snakes and all sorts of vermin.

An on-site inspection by sister newspaper Isolezwe ngoMgqibelo revealed the roof is ready to come tumbling down, the walls are rotten with paint peeling and the windows are broken in the filthy building just off Warwick Avenue that houses government ambulances and staff for greater Durban.

Reacting to the state of the building, Chris Maxon, the Department of Health spokesman, said staff would be moved to Wentworth Hospital.

“We will expand the working space available to us in Wentworth so that they can work there. This matter has been brought to the department’s attention for some time now. There is money that has been set aside to build a new building. The issue here is that building takes a long time.”

“There are a lot of things that aren’t right here. The incubators are contaminated, they are not supposed to be exposed in open spaces with the workers. They are supposed to be in their own specified place,” said a source who cannot be identified.

When the man showed us around the building, we were warned to stay alert for snakes.

On the second floor stray cats roamed the floor. “We are used to this now, we work around these cats and they breed here,” he said.

“We have to be constantly on the lookout for falling woodwork and debris because the building is in such a bad state,” he said.

And holes in the fence of the building has allowed people to enter the building illegally.

“When we are working upstairs, we are always telling people to stop having sex here, but they never listen; the following day, there are more people.”

The source also complained about taxi drivers who block the way of emergency personnel.

“Sometimes we have to call the metro police to remove the taxis from the driveway. Sometimes we are called out to help somewhere and we can’t because of these taxis,” he said.

The source also said there was a shortage of vehicles available at the EMRS and that they could not help people if there was no transport.

- Independent on Saturday/IOL