Durban’s private ambulance operators go head-to-head with RAF over non-payment
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DURBAN - A GROUP of private ambulance services are set to down tools tomorrow due to ongoing disputes between them and the Road Accident Fund.
In October last year, members of the KwaZulu-Natal Private Ambulance Association gathered at the Road Accident Fund’s office in the Durban CBD to address similar concerns.
At the time, a spokesperson said some operators were owed up to R 5million for work already done.
They handed over a list of grievances to management and to date, have not heard back from the RAF.
EmergenC XS Private Ambulance and Training Services's Malebo Mabalane said this time they are taking the fight back to the RAF, showing that they are willing to exhaust all measures in trying to get a formal discussion going.
He said one of the main issues operators are currently experiencing, is they are expected to hand in police reports when they make claims after transporting patients to hospital.
"This requires a police officer attending every accident scene to fill out the report and we know police officers do not attend every single accident scene," he said.
Mabalane said the constant changes by the RAF is having a negative impact on business and often operators are targeted if they ask about payment upfront when treating patients.
He said they are hoping to get a formal meeting set up with RAF in order to address their grievances.
"We want it to be known that we are doing this peacefully. We are not overturning bins or protesting but we are going about this in a peaceful manner in order to be heard," Mabalane said.
He said the RAF was placing unnecessary restrictions on operators.
ALS Paramedics spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said he knew of operators who had to close their businesses down or resort to using just one ambulance because they were owed money by the RAF.
"When we get on a accident scene and ask for payment from injured people in accidents we are frowned upon, obviously if the patient is critical no questions are asked. However we cannot survive by not being paid. We still have salaries, vehicles, fuel and many other expenses never mind the stock used and we are not winning with RAF. It is not our job to make accident reports for patients," he said.