After losing its licence to operate in 2014 forced the Limpopo College of Emergency Care to shut its doors, the Department of Health has finally obtained a certificate from the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for the college to resume with lessons.
Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba officially opened the college last Thursday to cater for the first batch of 24 paramedics with a basic life support qualification to enrol for the intermediate level of care. It was learnt that the HPCSA granted the college accreditation in December last year to offer the Ambulance Emergency Assistant (AEA) course. The current students were selected from all districts and the course runs for four months to enable the running of three courses in 2019, it was reported.
Information made available by the department confirmed that the current staff in EMS employ consist of 1 204 basic ambulance assistants, 615 intermediate level assistants, eight emergency care technicians and 22 paramedics.
Ramathuba stressed that the future plan of the college was to obtain accreditation to run a one year Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) course. She said it was not an easy journey to acquire the accreditation but a team assigned to deal with all the hassles made it possible by ensuring that the college comply with the rules and regulations of the HPCSA. She outlined that the critical areas identified as responsible for the college losing its accreditation were leadership and management, staffing, infrastructure and inadequate equipment.
Ramathuba explained that the department had embarked on a strategy to ensure the accreditation of the college with achievements such as the appointment of a college principal in 2015, procurement of all training equipment, the refurbishment of the infrastructure and the staffing of the institution with five paramedic lecturers and one emergency care technician lecturer. She reminded the emergency medical service (EMS) personnel in attendance that she had made a commitment during her budget speech that the college would soon become operation to upskill paramedics.
“Some people were saying I was undermining the EMS personnel who had only basic training but the aim was to get Provincial Treasury to give us money or resources to upgrade the facility to comply with HPCSA standards. After graduating, the group would be qualified to work anywhere in the world,” she said.
Story, photos & video: ENDY SENYATSI