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South African Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Association (SAPAESA)


The History of SAPAESA.

The origins of SAPAESA started with the Private Ambulance Association in 1990. The need for a unified voice in the private ambulance industry was the driving force around negotiating tariff with the Representative Association of Medical Schemes ( RAMS ) and its successor the Board of Healthcare Funders ( BHF ) and setting standards in an un-regulated industry.

The first chairman of the PAA was Klaas DeVries, the PAA was a Section 21 Company. This association up to 1994 successfully negotiated a tariff structure that would be used by the medical aids through the tariffs as set out by RAMS. The main pillar that was lacking was a norms and standards document to ensure that there was a set of criteria and standard to work from.

In 1994 at a PAA regional meeting in Cape Town, Neil Gargan, forwarded a working document on minimum requirements for ambulances. This document redrew the accepted structure of using unregistered EMS personnel to ensuring that all ambulance services had to use registered EMS personnel only. This document was used by a sub-Committee of the PAA to formalise the new requirements for registration with RAMS and ultimately gave the private ambulance industry the first, and up to now ( 2008 ), the only national regulations of any ambulance service or system.

The Chairmanship of the Association changed over the years from K Devries to Allan Park and subsequently to Neil Gargan. The main focus was to negotiate an acceptable tariff with RAMS ( which is now BHF ), COID, and to steer the industry in a positive direction.

In 1998, a group of members broke away from the PAA to form the Private Emergency Medical and Transport Association, Chaired by Terence Emslie. This association had very similar goals.

The old adage of there being strength in numbers resulted in the two Associations amalgamating at a meeting held in Gauteng in March 2002. The combination of the two associations became the South African Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Association, SAPAESA, under the Chairmanship of Neil Gargan.

Through the PAA to SAPAESA, these Associations are recognised by Government and the private sector as the representative body of the private ambulance industry.

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