Parliament, The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said he is committed in addressing and finding solutions to the problems that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel is faced with.

The comments are subsequent to a meeting that Dr Dhlomo had with the President of the South African Emergency Personnel Union, Mr Mpho Mpogeng, on 23 June this year. Dr Dhlomo said during the Department of Health Budget Vote speech, he had committed himself to meet with the union.

During the meeting two issues were raised: those that concern the safety and security of staff members who are providing urgent medical assistance were discussed first. The union said in the month of June alone, four cases of attacks were reported and in other instances, EMS members are lured into dangerous areas under the false pretense that there was a crisis, only to find out that the emergency call was fake.

The meeting did not only address problems but during the discussions, Mr Mpogeng provided solutions that as the Chairperson of the committee, he would like to take forward and discuss with the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

I have committed myself to come back to them with these suggestions because they were sound, but if they are not sound, the department must find solutions to the issues that have been raised by the union, where members are unexpectedly being injured as they come to render emergency healthcare to areas where people have been injured or need medical help, said Dr Dhlomo.

The second part is that I made a commitment to take the process forward by assisting the union with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), where it (the union) has indicated that a large number of its unemployed members of the EMS are expected to continue paying membership fees.

We are steadfast in supporting them in finding solutions to their proposals and in meeting the President of the HPCSA. We need to find an amicable solution to these matters. We need to continue to support the EMS staff so as to improve staff morale, he said.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa