Question NW2948 to the Minister of Health

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28 September 2023 - NW2948

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether he is informed on investigations in provincial departments; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what is the update on the investigation that was launched in June, involving two paramedics in Durban who were suspended for allegedly abandoning a sick patient in Umlazi when they refused to climb staircases to reach the patient (details furnished), (b) how will his department ensure that incidences of this nature do not occur at the expense of both worker and patient in cases of emergencies and (c) what total number of cases of this nature of neglect of patients by healthcare workers are currently being dealt with by his department; (2) whether he has found a close link between the specified cases and the shortage of healthcare workers in the Republic; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW4010E


(1) All investigations emanating due to incidents that happen at provincial level are handled by the specific province. However, there are instances where the Ministry gets informed about some of them.

a) The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health indicates that the hearing for the two (2) emergency care personnel that were involved in this incident is scheduled to take place on 28 September 2023.

b) All cases, such as this one, follow departmental policy where incidents are investigated. If misconduct is evidently found, then the prescribed disciplinary procedures are followed, and sanctions may be instituted where warranted. In addition, all emergency personnel are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa: Professional Board for Emergency Care and are required to abide by the Ethical Code of Practice. Such incidents will also be subjected to the HPCSA processes for managing all formal complaints against practitioners.

c) All complaints are managed directly by health facilities within Provinces. As the National Department of Health, some of the complaints are sent through the office of the Director-General, sometimes through the office of the Minister. For the last financial year we received five (5) complains and two (2) in 2023 regarding Emergency Medical Services. All of the complaints are related to response times and not negligence. According to the information we received from provinces, there are no negligent misconduct cases reported in Emergency Medical Services except the KwaZulu-Natal province.

(2) The matter of the two (2) emergency care personnel leaving a patient is still under investigation. We will await the outcome of investigation. However, it must be noted that there is no excuse for any case of negligence whether related to staff shortage or any other service related challenges.


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