New EMS Director for Western Cape Government Health

Theuns Botha MPP

Western Cape Government

Today the Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, officially announced the appointment of the new Director of Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Dr Shaheem de Vries. The announcement was made at the Tygerberg EMS Control Centre on the premises of Tygerberg Hospital.

The opportunity was used to stage a car accident and demonstrate the process to cut an injured person out of a wreckage.  Minister Botha played along as the demo and unlocked deserved applause for his role. Afterwards he relayed the experience and said he felt he was in the hands of the best EMS team in the world. “Our EMS team have been lauded all over. Our personnel are highly qualified, and our fleet is well-equipped with 265 ambulances, 34 response vehicles and 41 specialised rescue vehicles.

Formerly Dr De Vries was the Manager Medical Support Services in EMS and has been with the service for 11 years.  He has extensive knowledge and experience within the Emergency Medical Services. He replaces Dr Cleeve Robertson who left the service at the end of August this year. Minister Botha said the EMS team is under good leadership. EMS is entering a new era with the changes in the electronic data system that will is expected to bring a major improvement in ambulance response times.

Dr De Vries said “Western Cape Government Health EMS has long been recognized as a leader in the pre-hospital field within South Africa and Africa.  This achievement is only possible due to the talent and passion that appears to flow in abundance within its management team and their personnel. This coupled with the unwavering support from the department and its leadership has seen our EMS set the benchmark for a modern EMS in many aspects of governance and service delivery.

“However, the challenge is growing increasingly daunting with resource constraints and an ever increasing health burden threatening to stall much of the progress and momentum generated thus far.  In addition, the bold and aspirational departmental vision as contained in Healthcare 2030 has laid down the gauntlet of patient centered care as a tenant of clinical quality and service delivery.

“To meet this challenge EMS will hope to harness the benefits presented by technology to enable the team to make far more accurate strategic and tactical decisions around resource allocation, tasking and supervision. The provision of real time analytics and a renewed emphasis on performance measures that speak to both efficiency and clinical quality are central to achieving this vision. This should however in no way detract from the critical success factor that lies at the core of a quality EMS viz, its people. This is a resource that we must consistently nurture and acknowledge if success is to be ensured.”

Minister Botha used the opportunity to communicate the message that we are on the brink of the festive season, and that all EMS teams will be on standby on highways and central points.