Career Boost for EPWP Beneficiaries
A total of 84 Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) beneficiaries were recently appointed full-time as Emergency Care Officers (ECOs) at various health institutions in the Western Cape. ECOs are responsible for providing basic life support (BLS) to patients and transporting them as part of planned patient transport and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Jacques van Eeden, EPWP Social Sector Coordinator at the Department of Transport and Public Works said the beneficiaries gained valuable experience and acquired the necessary skills to apply for full-time positions in the service.
“They assisted EMS to fill service gaps when there were staff shortages and during peak times,” he said.
Participants had to maintain the “P1< 15 minute response time” performance standard throughout their internships. This standard requires trainees to be at the scene of an accident in 15 minutes or less, and to maintain an average response time of 15 minutes or less. The sooner EMS personnel can reach an accident scene, the sooner they can provide first line medical treatment, which improves the chances of survival.
Training formed an integral part of the internship and participants were expected to accumulate a certain amount of continuous medical education (CME) points per month and complete assignments. Trainees also underwent mandatory BLS refresher courses and CME training sessions to meet the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s (HPCSA) continuing professional development requirements. They had to successfully complete three prescribed driving courses before they were authorised to respond to incidents or transport patients. This ensured that their skill levels were sustained and enhanced throughout the internship.
Bam Mvangeli (40) from Tafelsig started as an intern at Lentegeur EMS in 2012.
“I’m proud to be permanently employed as an Emergency Care Officer. I’m looking forward to learn more in the field and study further in the future. I’m grateful for this opportunity to prosper in life,” he said.