Gauteng Emergency Medical Services Fully Provincialised
In a statement from the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH), the process to provincialise Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is now complete with Ekurhuleni being the last municipality.
The migration was finalised on 30 June bringing to conclusion a process that started in 2012 with Sedibeng District Municipality.
Back in 2009, the Gauteng Executive Council decided to provincialise EMS in order to improve efficiencies with regards to quality service provision and achieving seamless EMS operations. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996, Schedule 4 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.
The GDoH has over the years sub-contracted municipalities as agents to render emergency medical services. That model has proved to be inefficient, and very costly. Gauteng had been the only province where EMS is not yet fully provincialised in the country post 1994 dispensation.
The provincialisation will lead to 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.
The provincialisation model is intended to eliminate various gaps in the previous system of agencies with 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.
Furthermore, this process will also eliminate the fragmentation of services, lack of co-ordination between public and private services to optimise resources. It is estimated that
provincialisation of EMS within the City of Ekurhuleni will create at least 800 full time professional positions to the value of R120 million for emergency care professionals as the recruitment process is phased in over the next 12 months.