With Port Elizabeth’s increasing popularity as host city for major events, the time may be ripe for the municipality to formalise a medical assistance policy for major sporting events and concerts.

“There are no bylaws or formal legislation stipulating the nature of medical assistance required at big sporting events,” said Dave Gardner from the Gardmed ambulance and paramedics services in the metro.

He said that although the organisers of most major sporting events – like The Herald Volkswagen Cycle Tour and the Spec-Savers Ironman – contracted medical assistance companies to look after participants and supporters, it might be time to start formalising prerequisites, especially with the 2010 Soccer World Cup in mind.

Jurg Bekker, from the department of economic development and recreational services at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, said although no formal legislation existed in this regard, they always advised clubs or organisers that used the municipality’s facilities that the onus rested on them to make provision for medical assistance.

“Before major sporting events and concerts a local organising committee (LOC) meeting takes place where all role-players, including delegates from the traffic, police and disaster management departments, are present.”

Bekker said at these meetings the level of medical and other services required to ensure the safety and security of the public before, during and after an event, was thrashed out, but that no official legislation existed that prescribed the presence or level of presence of medical personnel.

Gardner, whose company provides medical assistance for many major sporting events throughout the metro, said the level of assistance depended on the nature of the event. According to him, the organisers of The Herald VW Cycle Tour – where Gardmed annually lends medical assistance – are extremely diligent in all aspects of their event co-ordination.

“With cycling events, we mostly deal with fractures and cases of dehydration,” said Gardner. He added that they enjoyed the full support of the Life St George’s Hospital’s casualty ward – which annually dispatches trauma personnel to the race – to bolster their paramedic and ambulance services.

The Herald VW Cycle Tour weekend starts with mountain biking – the 85km Feature Race, 65km Vodacom Challenge, 42km Family Fun Ride and CHOC Kiddies’ Challenge – at the Addo Elephant National Park on Saturday, January 31.

On the same day, The Boardwalk hosts the MTR Smit 30km Family Fun Ride and the Reach for a Dream Kiddies’ Challenge. The 105km The Herald VW Cycle Tour and the 75km Schools and Open Challenge take place on the Sunday from the same venue.

Entry forms for The Herald VW Cycle Race are available from cycling shops countrywide and online at www.heraldcycletour.co.za or www.cyclelab.co.za.

For more information, contact Shane Bradfield on 074 114 4811.

Issued by:

Full Stop Communications

Coetzee Gouws
082 575 7991
041 368 4992

On behalf of:

Avusa (The Herald)