Advertisement

International EMS systems in South Africa: past, present, and future

      Abstract

      Emergency medical services (EMS) in South Africa have developed rapidly over the last 20 years. However, there is inequitable distribution of services, with many rural areas being poorly resourced. This is partly as a result of the historical inequalities prevalent in the South African society of the past; efforts are being made to address this. EMS training is provided at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. The advanced level of training is comparable with the best in the world. Emergency care practitioners are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and are thereby subject to the regulations, scope of practice and disciplinary structures of the council. Response times vary from 15 min in sophisticated urban systems to 40 min or longer in some rural services.
      Emergency departments (ED) are very busy, usually overloaded with patients, often poorly resourced and are similar to “Casualty Departments” that existed in the UK in the past. Facilities, staff and equipment are variable, and until recently there has been no formal career structure for emergency doctors. The introduction of emergency medicine as a new full speciality in 2004 will transform emergency care in Southern Africa, and appropriate training programmes are already being developed, together with progressive upgrading of emergency departments.
      EMS personnel face a vast spectrum of clinical cases, particularly all forms of trauma. Recent improvements in organisation, education and resources, coupled with better distribution of services, upgraded emergency departments and the development of emergency medicine as a speciality, should provide a significant boost for emergency care for the community.

      Keywords

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Resuscitation
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Goosen J.
        • Bowley D.M.
        • Degiannis E.
        • Plani F.
        Trauma care systems in South Africa.
        Injury. 2003; 34: 704-708
        • Brysiewicz P.
        Trauma in South Africa.
        Int J Trauma Nurs. 2001; 7: 129-132
      1. Ramokgopa G. Address by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa at the Emergency medical Services Open Day in Mogale City. Department of Health; April 2002. http://www.gpg.gov.za/docs/sp/2002/sp0429.html.

      2. Gauteng Province. Emergency Medical Services Database.

        • Bowley D.M.
        • Khavandi A.
        • Boffard K.D.
        • et al.
        The malignant epidemic – changing patterns of trauma.
        S Afr Med J. 2002; 92: 798-802
        • Doherty J.
        • Price M.
        Evaluation of rural ambulance services.
        World Health Forum. 1998; 19: 315-319
        • Kotze J.M.
        The role of the ambulance service as part of the health profession.
        S Afr Med J. 1990; 78: 320-322
        • Clarke M.E.
        Emergency medicine in the new South Africa.
        Ann Emerg Med. 1998; 3293: 367-372