Question NW1566 to the Minister of Health

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29 November 2019 - NW1566

Profile picture: Sharif, Ms NK

Sharif, Ms NK to ask the Minister of Health

(1)What are the guidelines and/or protocols that provinces should have in place to ensure safety (a) at health facilities and (b) of Emergency Medical Services personnel; (2) does his department require any basic level safety requirements to be met by each province; (3) what total number of healthcare professionals have been killed in the line of duty by patients and/or criminals in the past five years?


1. (a) Health Facilities

The Department has security guards in all the health facilities. The purpose is to protect both the staff and the patients on continuous basis. The security guards conduct patrol in the health facilities throughout the day. The Ideal Hospital Realisation and Management Framework and the Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance as well as the Office of Health Standards Compliance, have measures compelling all health facilities to introduce safety and security features. The health facilities have been declared gun free ones. These are measured at regular intervals by means of inspections and reports being submitted.

(b) Emergency Medical Services Personnel

  • Through engagement with the National Joint Intelligence Structures, a PROJOC instruction was issued that SAPS is required to escort ambulances to calls in volatile areas.
  • Provinces are required to establish a response protocol to areas identified as hot zones.
  • A comprehensive National EMS Safety Guideline is in place to ensure that the (EMS) personnel work in an environment consistent with accepted minimum safety and security standards. This encompasses the development of provincial EMS safety plans and of mainstreaming the individual and collective sense of security and safety awareness and responsibility.
  • A National EMS Safety Forum has recently been considered to advise the National and Provincial Departments of Health on safety challenges, undertaking risk assessments and proposing risk reduction measures in addition to mitigating, developing, maintaining, updating and implementing safety protocols and standard operating procedures according to the changing situation, where necessary.

2. Each province is required to develop and implement their respective Safety Plan in line with the National EMS Safety Guideline depending on the level of threat/incidents in their respective provinces. The guideline is as follows:





Focus on Staff

Staff Preparedness

  • Promote staff operational readiness
  • Staff are encouraged to take part in Wellness Initiatives.

Reduce the risk to staff member being targeted by criminals


Staff Vigilance / Awareness

  • Staff members to be sensitised in vigilance and awareness of surroundings

Staff members have access to all information regarding high risk zones


Staff Resilience

  • Regular debriefing and mental health training sessions to be attended by staff members

Mentally fit staff


Staff Safety Course

  • A Safety course is currently being developed

Awareness & Preparedness of EMS in hostile situations

Focus on Community


  • Awareness campaigns within communities highlighting challenges with regards to limitations and barriers and implementation of red zones

Staff members will be familiar to community members and a level of trust can be built between all parties.



  • Active participation in Community Police forums, neighbourhood watches and farm watches – meeting scheduled with agenda item tabled

Greater awareness within the community of incidents that have occurred. Also to provide support to staff that needs to testify

Focus on Management

Before the incident

  • Keep staff informed of all pertinent activities within their district so as to increase their vigilance and awareness.

Ensuring a fluid process during and after an incident


During the Incident

  • Immediate response of officers to scene of incident if safe, or to place of safety

Ensuring staff support


Post Incident

  • Staff wellness to investigate a more proactive and efficient external staff support service for ongoing management of individuals that have been subjected to traumatic incidents especially attacks on their person

Supported staff members will feel they are able to contribute to the service and this will assist in their recovery.



  • Regular stakeholders meeting with the Community Police Forum (CPF), Business South Africa, Private Security in the identified affected areas;

Regular feedback to staff on stakeholder meetings.



  • Regular feedback to NHC -TAC on prevention and mitigation strategy to reduce the attacks on EMS.

Support from NHC-TAC.

Monitoring on the implementation of the Emergency Medical Support in Hostile Environments) training.

National and Provincial feedback on Health Care In Danger Project

Focus on Technology

  • Panic button located in the front and rear of vehicles to be tested on a regular basis to check their status
  • Use of social media/ digital media,
  • Use digital media to campaign with other platforms on the management of EMS
  • Safety Vest specifications were approved at the National Committee for EMS meeting held on the 15th October 2019

Improved responsiveness and confidence in service capacity

Ensure safety and protection for EMS personnel.


3. One EMS personnel was fatality shot in Gauteng Province in 2017, and one security guard in Limpopo province


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