Gauteng Health reduces waiting times for patient referrals

In an effort to speed up EMS response times and enhance the care patients receive, the Gauteng Department of Health emergency medical services (EMS) has introduced the G-SET program. A 24-hour shuttle pilot is a new approach to attending to patient requirements along predetermined routes at predetermined times.

The Gauteng Department of Health is implementing the G-SET across districts to decrease patient wait times during referrals between healthcare providers. G-SET is a round-the-clock shuttle service for patients being transported to different medical facilities. Currently, it is being tested in the West Rand, Tshwane, and Johannesburg.

“This is a new innovative way of responding to patient needs and will see a 24-hour shuttle service transporting patients through pre-determined routes within a cluster of health facilities at scheduled times.

“This intervention comes after EMS reviewed its operational model informed by patient waiting times, referral pathways, data on patient conditions and classification, and excess time lost during patient handover among other factors,” said outgoing Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Kwara Kekana.

The MEC for Health, Nomathemba Mokgethi, promised to ensure that G-SET is ready to be fully implemented by the end of the year when she delivered her department’s 2022/2023 budget vote in May, according to the provincial health authorities, who stated that the expansion of the pilot project to other districts is a part of that promise.

“The preliminary results of the G-SET pilot operations from the first quarter indicate; improved response times, smooth model of patient referral and transportation, and improved patient experience,” Kekana said.

The service, known as Gauteng Scheduled Emergency Transport (G-SET), was launched last week as a test program but will eventually be implemented across the entire province.

In response to an assessment of its operations, the department’s emergency medical services (EMS) decided to implement G-SET because an increasing number of patients were using ambulances for facility transfers, which diminished the number of vehicles available to respond to citizen’s emergency calls.

Gauteng Emergency Medical Services uses Ambulances to respond to urgent calls in pre-hospital settings, including primary calls. Ambulances are also used to transport patients between clinics, midwife obstetric units, community health care centers, and hospital inter-facility transfers.

“The consistent increase in the inter-facility transfer rate within the Gauteng province puts pressure on Emergency Medical Services, and constraints available resources to service the real emergency calls and primary calls in communities, this has necessitated the introduction of a new business model to address the high inter-facility transfer rates,” Kekana said.

“G-SET has enabled EMS to introduce a method of optimizing the routes of identified G-SET ambulances for non-urgent patient transportation while maximizing the rest of remaining resources capacity for definite emergency calls inclusive of primary calls in communities.”

The G-SET initiative will also make additional telephones available at the emergency communication center by establishing a separate dedicated platform for inter-facility transfers and by providing dependable scheduled transport services for non-emergent situations.

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Source of News:Gauteng health improves patient transportation

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