Health department gets services of private ambulances



THE North West health department has acquired the services of two emergency medical services companies to address backlog of ambulances in the province.

Department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane said they have signed a two year contract with the two companies.

“We believe that their services will assist us in addressing backlog of ambulances. This will improve our service delivery to our people. We have experienced lack of ambulances in the past. So those emergency medical services will assist were we are lacking.

“We do not have many ambulances across the province to render service to all communities. Our people always complain that ambulances take long to reach them. Some people say sometimes the ambulances are engaged,” Lekgethwane said.

He added that people need to bring any grievances forward so that they can address them.

“The service level agreement exists with two private EMS providers to offer inter facility transfers for the department. The private emergency medical services will help to reduce the backlog in transportation of patients.

“The private EMS are also bide by the law to assist if they come across any accident. This is as per the health act. The department uses private EMS service providers when we are very busy as well,” he said.

Lekgethwane said that they do not condone private EMS services that poach calls. He said that EMS services signed the contract for inter facility transfer.

“They are paid as per Board of Healthcare Funders rates. If residents are not happy about the service of the private sectors, they can lay a complainant to the department. We will report them to the Board of Healthcare funders or the health professions council of South Africa.

“We are still assessing the impact that private EMS service providers have on patient care. We also held talks with taxi industry to assist with transport to ferry patients to various medical institutions in daily basis,” he said.

The Taung community was left disgruntled recently over the treatment they allegedly received from one of private EMS personnel.

A concern group chairperson from Taung Voices, Bakang Makuroane said there was a terrible accident recently in Chiefscourt section in Taung.

He said the personnel driving a private ambulance stopped but allegedly refused to help them.

“One person died on the scene in a car accident after one of private EMS personnel stopped but refused to assist. The driver alleged that the accident was not in his jurisdiction. So we wanted to know if the accident was not in his jurisdiction, what he was doing in the area. These private EMS services come to North West just to fill up their pockets. The injured person died on the scene after 30 minutes while trying to call an ambulance,” Makuroane said.


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