E Cape ambulance drivers face axe

2010-04-20 10:29

The Eastern Cape health department will put a number of ambulance

drivers on incapacity leave after discovering they are operating

illegally.


This came after the discovery that their required registration with

the Health Professions Council of SA had not been renewed and that they had

effectively been deregistered to operate the ambulances.


Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: “The department is now issuing

letters to all the individual drivers affected notifying them of a possible

incapacity leave to be followed by a due internal disciplinary process in terms

of the Labour Relations Act.”


Their failure to renew their licences meant they were transporting

patients illegally, rendering the department liable to litigation, he

explained.


“This illegal practice and gross negligence by ambulance

practitioners cannot be tolerated. Decisive action against all those involved is

imminent,” said Kupelo.


Registration was a requirement before employment and it was the

drivers’ personal responsibility to keep their registration up-to-date, said

Kupelo.


The move was part of a shake-up in the health department which had

so far seen the province appoint a new emergency services director after the

former director resigned following allegations that he was part of a group who

used an air ambulance to travel to a rugby match.


Eight other senior emergency officials were facing disciplinary

actions relating to the alleged abuse of the aircraft.


Another investigation involved the abuse of sick leave.


Last December, about 18 ambulance crew members who were supposed to

work on Christmas Eve submitted sick notes, disrupting services in Port

Elizabeth.


The doctors who issued the certificates could also be

investigated.


The department would also take action against managers who failed

to take deal with subordinates who were involved in accidents that involved

third parties.

 

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