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MEC Mokgethi seeks to turn around Gauteng ambulance response time and patient care

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 30, 2022

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Pretoria – Gauteng Department of Health emergency medical services (EMS) has introduced the G-SET programme as part of efforts to improve EMS response times and patient experience of care.

To reduce patient waiting times during referrals between health facilities, the Gauteng Department of Health is piloting the G-SET across all districts.

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“This is a new innovative way of responding to patient needs and will see 24-hour shuttle service transporting patients through pre-determined routes within a cluster of health facilities at scheduled times.

“This intervention comes after EMS reviewed its operational model informed by patient waiting times, referral pathways, data on patient conditions and classification and excess time lost during patient handover among other factors,” said outgoing Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

The G-SET pilot project was launched in parts of the Joburg, Tshwane, West Rand districts and will be extending to other districts and expanding to other areas in the phase one pilot districts.

The provincial health authorities said the expansion of the pilot project to other districts is part of the commitments made by the MEC for Health Nomathemba Mokgethi during the delivery of her department’s 2022/2023 budget vote in May to ensure that G-SET is ready to be fully rolled out by the end of the year.

“The preliminary results of the G-SET pilot operations from the first quarter indicate; improved response times, smooth model of patient referral and transportation and improved patient experience,” Kekana said.

Gauteng Emergency Medical Services use ambulances to service emergency calls in the pre-hospital settings – primary calls; transport patients between clinics, midwife obstetric units, community health-care centres, and inter-facility transfers among the hospitals.

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“The consistent increase in the inter-facility transfer rate within the Gauteng province puts pressure on Emergency Medical Services, and constraints available resources to service the real emergency calls and primary calls in communities, this has necessitated introduction of a new business model to address the high inter-facility transfer rates,” Kekana said.

“G-SET has enabled EMS to introduce a method of optimising the routes of identified G-SET ambulances for non-urgent patient transportation while maximising the rest of remaining resources capacity for definite emergency calls inclusive of primary calls in communities.”

The G-SET programme will also free up dedicated resources for actual life-threatening emergencies, avail more telephones at the emergency communication centre by creating a separate dedicated platform for inter-facility transfers, provide reliable scheduled transport services for non-emergent cases.

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