309 ambulance drivers suspended

2010-04-22 16:03

Port Elizabeth – The Eastern Cape health department has put 309 ambulance drivers on unpaid leave for failing to renew their registration with the Health Professions Council of SA, an official said on Thursday.

"Of the just over 2 000 ambulance drivers, 309 have been found to have not registered with the Health Professions Council... they were put on unpaid leave until they come back with proof of payment," said provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

Out of the 309 drivers, a group of 70 "would be on unpaid leave for a long period" as they had never registered with the council.

"They will have to start afresh with registrations," he said.

Their failure to renew their licences meant they were transporting patients illegally, rendering the department liable to litigation, Kupelo said earlier.

"This illegal practice and gross negligence by ambulance practitioners cannot be tolerated. Decisive action against all those involved is imminent."

Registration was a requirement before employment and it was the drivers' personal responsibility to keep their registration up-to-date.