Provincial Emergency Medical Services Improved Target on Priority One Calls
The Provincial Department of Health's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has reached a significant improved target in responding to medical emergencies within fifteen minutes.
Over a period of three months (October to December 2010), 18 180 calls out of 30 162 were reached within 15 minutes from the receipt of call in urban areas across the Western Cape. A considerable increase compared to the 10 363 under 15 minute P1 (Priority One) calls attended to during the period of April to June.
The objective is to reach 90% of all priority one calls within fifteen minutes in the city and urban areas outside of the Metropole by the end of 2011. Currently the average response time for P1 calls has been reduced from 26 minutes to 18 minutes. Time is measured from the receipt of the initial call made by a member of the public until an ambulance or response vehicle arrive on the scene.
"For the initiative to be successful, a restructuring of the communications process within the call centres had to take place. In addition we added experts from the private industry who could better educate staff about providing efficient call centre infrastructure and increased resources through overtime and efficient fleet management. This has resulted in a 30% improvement between the periods of July until September and October until December", said Theuns Botha, the Provincial MEC of the Department of Health.
Changes within the call centres included sending staff on formal National Certificate call centre management programs; the publication of the ICT tender (Information Communications Technology) and providing coaching and mentoring for staff. "Securing the ICT tender will be significant as it will enhance our performance, being the most comprehensive solution in recent years to replace the current communications system. Live vehicle tracking, automatic incident location and electronic patient monitoring are all new functions of the system", said MEC Botha. The new ICT system is expected to be in place later this year.
EMS will continuously work on improving response times to all P1 calls in the Western Cape, with a goal of reaching at least 90% by the end of 2011.