In 2013, the South African Human Rights Commission received a complaint regarding the lack of access to emergency medical services in the Eastern Cape’s northern Xhora Mouth area. The complaint kicked off two years of investigation into the provision of emergency medical services in the province, culminating in a provincial hearing into the matter.
Released in October 2015, the commission’s subsequent report includes several recommendations for the department, among these the commission requests that:
- The National Department of Health review the national standard stating provinces should have one ambulance for every 10,000 people to help clarify the sizes and composition of ambulance fleets needed in provinces;
- The Eastern Cape Department review its policies and practices in providing planned patient transportation services to communities, taking into account the implications of the practical implementation of these policies to ensure that needs can be appropriately accommodated. In reviewing the design and implementation of the applicable policies, particular emphasis should be given to the specific needs of vulnerable groups; and
- The Eastern Cape Department of Health human resources planning should prioritise the funding and employment of call centre staff, and ensure that the level of training should be commensurate with the triage responsibilities.
Download the full report: Access to Emergency Medical Services in the Eastern Cape