All of Gauteng’s public emergency services now run by provincial health dept

A provincial service ambulance outside the Nasrec quarantine and isolation site on July 03, 2020 in Johanneburg, South Africa. Gauteng MEC Dr Bandile Masuku visited the NASREC Quarantine Site to inspect facilities and monitor patient care experience. The site became operational on June 15. (Photo by Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd)

Gauteng health department has over the years subcontracted municipalities as agents to render emergency medical services.

To ensure efficiency and improve emergency response times, emergency ambulance services in Gauteng are now run entirely by the provincial Department of Health.

The move will create 800 permanent jobs over the next 12 months, the Gauteng health department said in a statement.

The department said the process to provincialise Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was completed by the acquisition of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s EMS.

Departmental spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the migration was finalised on 30 June bringing to conclusion a process that started in 2012 with Sedibeng District Municipality.

A total of 800 people are expected to be employed on a permanent basis over the next 12 months through the provincialisation of Ekurhuleni EMS.

The Gauteng Department of Health has also allocated R294 million for the 2020-21 financial year for the procurement of new ambulances and other categories of emergency vehicles, Kekana said.

The Gauteng executive council decided to provincialise EMS in 2009 in order to improve efficiencies with regards to quality service provision and achieve a seamless EMS operation, Kekana added.

Move

Kekana said the move was in line with Act 108 of 1996 Schedule 4 of the Constitution which provides that healthcare services are a concurrent competence of national and provincial government and further, the national health Act provides that EMS is a provincial competence.

She said the Gauteng health department has over the years subcontracted municipalities as agents to render emergency medical services.

“That model has proved to be inefficient, and very costly,” Kekana said, adding that Gauteng had been the only province where EMS was not yet fully provincialised post-1994.

“The provincialisation will lead to a realignment of services, operational efficiencies, provide a seamless, equitable service across the province with single management structure and command and control centre, regardless of municipal boundaries,” she said.

“The provincialisation model is intended to eliminate various gaps in the previous system of agencies with the local government throughout the province. These include multiple call-taking and dispatch centres which are not linked in real-time for optimal response, including optimised resource coordination.

“The department believed that, furthermore, this process will also eliminate the fragmentation of services, lack of coordination between public and private services to optimise resources.”

For EMS dial 112 from a cellphone and 10177 from a landline.

Alternatively, use the Gauteng Department of Health’s Mpilo app for the ambulance e-haling feature.

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