Paramedic training to become a professional university degree

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi signed into effect law that no longer recognises the six-week basic life support, six-month intermediate life support and 9-month advanced life support courses or practical experience for paramedics.

This has sparked concerns that the new regulations could hamper the growth of the industry.

Dr Shaheem de Vries, head of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services, talks to CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies about potential fallout of this new legislation.

There is a lot of emotion connected with this particular question, and it has been coming for quite some time. It is not something that has been sprung on the industry... We have been dealing with this issue for twenty years.

Dr Shaheem de Vries, head of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services

While this has been on the cards since the 1990's he acknowledges the new law will affect people's careers, futures, and even some businesses.

Professionally it is to move forward. We don't wish to undermine the excellent work done by those involved in the short-course training but there are shortfalls and we cannot be blind to them.

Dr Shaheem de Vries, head of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services

The technical skills and practical acumen of those trained previously are not in question, says de Vries.

What is at play here is the broader contextual knowledge that goes with that. What is lacking across the country in EMS is a lack of leadership, not clinical leadership but managerial and administrative leadership.

Dr Shaheem de Vries, head of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services

He says currently paramedics do not get the professional recognition.

Until paramedics join the ranks of doctors, nurses and other health professionals who train at tertiary institutes we are going to struggle to shake that image.

Dr Shaheem de Vries, head of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services

Listen to EMS's Dr Shaheem de Vries explain the rationale behind the law change below:

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