Gauteng health improves patient transportation

A 24-hour shuttle pilot is a new way of responding to patient needs via selected routes and at set times.

The Gauteng health department has introduced a system to streamline its services to better serve citizens who need medical help.

Spokesperson for Gauteng MEC of Health, Kwara Kekana said this intervention will reduce the time patients waited for ambulances and separate emergencies from non-emergencies.

Dubbed Gauteng Scheduled Emergency Transport (G-SET), the service was launched last Wednesday as a pilot but will eventually be rolled out throughout the province.

It is currently being tested in Johannesburg, Tshwane, and the West Rand.

Kekana said G-SET is a shuttle service for patients being transferred to other medical facilities and will run around the clock.

During her department’s 2022/2023 budget vote in May, MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi announced G-SET will be rolled out throughout Gauteng by the end of the year.

The department’s emergency medical services (EMS) introduced G-SET after a review of its operations found that there was a growing number of patients who used the ambulances for transfers between facilities and that this reduced the number of vehicles available to respond to emergency calls by citizens.

“This has necessitated an introduction of a new business model to address the high transfer rates,” said Kekana.

“The preliminary results of the G-SET pilot were improved [emergency] response times, smooth patient referral and transportation as well as improved patient experience.”

She said G-SET has enabled the EMS to optimise ambulance routes for non-urgent patient transportation and its capacity to respond to explicit emergency calls.

“G-SET will free up resources for actual life-threatening emergencies and telephone lines at the emergency call centre because G-SET will use a separate platform as well as provide reliable transport services for non-emergent cases,” said Kekana.

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