Paramedic Training in South Africa

Emergency medical care is the primary responsibility of paramedics in the pre-hospital setting. Paramedics provide medical care where ever the patient is located either at the patientís house or work place, in the street, or down an embankment. Before transporting the patient to a medical facility, paramedics stabilize the patient, and treat and transport the patient. Paramedics also provide patient care in the ambulance while the patient is being transferred between hospitals.

Paramedics can provide more than just simple "first-aid".  Procedure and interventions that can be provided by paramedics differ, according to their qualification (which is discussed below).

Emergency medical rescue is also offered in the EMS setting and is provided by rescue-qualified paramedics. Medical rescue includes use rope rescue systems to rescue people in the mountains and the use of the "jaws of life" to rescue or extricate people from motor vehicle accidence.

The demands placed on paramedics can be demanding and stressful, it is however a rewarding profession which is developing. Being a paramedic is not a "job" but a calling.

The following are currently the different levels of care which paramedics in South African can perform:

  • Basic Life Support (BAA) (one month course)
    BAA practitioners provide Basic Medical Care interventions to patients in Emergencies. This will include CPR, stopping of bleeding, helping women in labour and other non-invasive procedures


  • Intermediate Life Support (ILS) (four month course)
    ILS practitioners provide Intermediate Medical Intervention including IV therapy (drips) Bronchodilators, Defibrillation (shock) & chest decompression etc. This category provides medical care at the level higher than Basic Life Support.


  • Emergency care technician (ECT) Two year course ECT practitioners also called "mid-level worker" provide basic, non-invasive interventions to help save lives and reduce harm at emergency sites at the level higher than Intermediate Life Support which it includes airway Management, IV Drug, midwifery, Advanced Resuscitation.


  • Advanced Life Support Paramedic (ALS)six or nine month course
    ALS practitioners provides pre-hospital Advanced Life Support at the level higher than Intermediate Life Support which it includes; Advanced Airway Management, IV Drug Therapy up schedule 7 drugs, advanced midwifery, Advanced Resuscitation, aviation medicine, and basic Aquatic Medicine.


  • Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) four year degree ECP provides pre-hospital Advanced Life Support providers at the level higher than Intermediate Life Support which it includes; Advanced Airway Management, IV Drug Therapy up schedule 7 drugs, advanced midwifery, Advanced Resuscitation, Aviation Medicine, basic Aquatic Medicine and emergency medical rescue


  • Medical Rescue Basic Medical Rescue, Intermediate Medical Rescue and Advanced Medical Rescue

South African advanced life support Paramedics are highly in demand throughout the world due to the nature of training and skills.

However there have been massive changes in the way that paramedics are trained. All the short courses i.e. Basic Ambulance Assistants and Ambulance Emergency Assistants/ ILS, and Advanced Life Support/CCA are no longer offered and no new registration is allowed. These short courses have been replaced with courses that are all NQF aligned.

 

The department of health does offers Bursaries

All vacant posts are listed on the Vacancy Page

Go to KZN EMS for more information

For further information, please email the Principal, Ms Busisiwe Arends

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This page last edited on 30 May, 2023

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