Road operations

Netcare 911’s position as a leading emergency service provider in South Africa is underpinned by its more than 100 operations in South Africa. Netcare 911’s investment in self-owned and managed emergency vehicles assists in ensuring optimum response performance, resource availability and controlling our end-product service quality. By leasing the fleet of vehicles we use for our road operations, Netcare 911 ensures that all vehicles are replaced within a two-year period, thereby effecting improved reliability and availability in addition to benefiting from technological enhancements to our fleet.

Providing our patients with world class quality care is a priority for Netcare 911, and we continue to focus on optimising all of our business operations, including our road operations, in order to ensure that this is achieved.

Our patient feedback system enables us to monitor our patients’ experience, address any concerns and benchmark our patient satisfaction levels against the results of the Council of Ambulance Authorities National Patient Satisfaction Surveys. This survey includes service quality and satisfaction ratings of ambulance services across Australia and in New Zealand.

In providing emergency management services on par with international standards, Netcare 911 operates the following:

  • A fleet of more than 200 emergency vehicles strategically deployed throughout the nine provinces of South Africa.
  • 60 rapid response vehicles (RRVs) crewed by advanced life support (ALS) paramedics and equipped with the latest technology equipment for immediate dispatch to any acute trauma or medical emergencies.
  • A fleet of 135 ambulances equipped for the transportation of ill and injured patients. Our ambulances are manned by emergency care practitioners trained to the appropriate level of care, namely  basic life support (BLS), intermediate life support (ILS) and advanced life support (ALS) levels to manage the specific condition of the patient.
  • Four dedicated mobile intensive care units, equipped with specialised equipment, to facilitate inter-hospital transfer of critically ill or injured, high-risk patients ranging from adults to neonates.
  • Three rescue vehicles, equipped with specialised extrication and rescue equipment, to support municipal fire and emergency services in rescue operations and at accident scenes.

Rapid response and road ambulance service

The first 60 minutes following a medical emergency is often referred to as the ‘golden hour’. This is the window of opportunity where appropriate pre-hospital emergency medical care can positively impact a patient’s outcome. Netcare 911 therefore places considerable emphasis on optimising efficiencies throughout the value chain, to enable our paramedics to reach patients in need of emergency medical care in the quickest possible time.

Our fleet of over 200 rapid response vehicles and road ambulances are strategically deployed throughout the nine provinces of South Africa. Custom-designed integrated call taking (ICT) and integrated dispatch system (IDS) technology in Netcare 911’s national emergency operations centre (EOC) ensure that the nearest emergency response team is dispatched to an emergency scene. 

All of Netcare 911’s emergency vehicles are equipped with global positioning technology (GPS) technology, and also utilise satellite tracking to assist our emergency medical staff to get to the scene of an emergency in the shortest possible time.

To provide emergency medical assistance to persons finding themselves in an emergency situation faster than ever before, Netcare 911 has recently partnered with mySOS, an emergency mobile app that uses smartphone technology. 

mySOS app

The mySOS emergency mobile app uses smartphone technology to get you the assistance that you need in emergency situations, faster than ever before. This potentially life-saving service uses minimal battery power on your phone.

Read more on the mySOS app functions and its benefits

Nothing is more important to Netcare 911 than the safety of our patients and our staff members. Since the inception of Netcare 911 in 1998, the company has placed considerable focus on the selection of its fleet vehicles. Particular attention has been paid to ensuring that Netcare 911’s emergency vehicles have the necessary safety, reliability, performance and dependency specifications in order to enhance our longstanding reputation for efficiency and patient safety.

We are also committed to minimising our company’s environmental footprint to the benefit of all South Africans, and continue to seek new ways to reduce the impact of our vehicle fleet usage on the environment.

Netcare 911’s quality improvement initiative recognised at Quality Improvement Summit

Netcare 911’s quality improvement initiative, Time Saves Lives was recognised with an award at the Best Care Always (BCA) Quality Improvement Summit held in Cape Town in September 2015. Our initiative focused on improving efficiencies and outcomes throughout the value chain, from resource management, answering of calls and dispatch, to road operations and ultimately, patient service.

Emergency medical assistance at sporting and other events

Netcare 911 rapid response vehicles, ambulances and paramedics are a common sight at local, provincial, national and international sporting events and other events such as conferences and congresses held in South Africa.

Netcare 911’s ground crews are often supported by Netcare trauma doctors and nursing staff and a helicopter ambulance in providing emergency medical services at key events, with Netcare hospitals on standby to receive patients requiring admission and further definitive treatment. Netcare was, for example, contracted to provide emergency medical services for the rugby and soccer world cup events in South Africa and has also, for many years now, been associated with prestigious sporting events such as the Comrades Marathon and 94.7 Cycle Race.

Mobile ICU ambulance service

Netcare 911 developed mobile ICU ambulances in response to the dire need for providing an intensive care environment for the transfer of critically ill or injured patients, high-risk patients between medical facilities.

A critically ill or injured patient may, for example, be transferred to another medical facility for specific specialised treatment which is not available at the hospital to which the patient had been admitted. Furthermore, patients are often taken to the nearest emergency facility for stabilisation after an accident or traumatic incident, and may thereafter need to be transferred to a hospital offering specialised services for their ongoing treatment.  

The Volkswagen Crafter was customised to Netcare 911’s specifications, to serve as highly specialised mobile units. The vehicle has a large cabin area, which gives paramedics the necessary space in which to efficiently provide advanced life support therapies for their patients, and furthermore offers excellent stability, occupant safety and comfort, reliability and performance.

ICU ambulances are equipped and manned to provide specialised care during inter-hospital transfer of critically ill or injured patients

Netcare 911 currently operates four dedicated mobile ICU ambulances, three of which are based in Gauteng and are also used to support the surrounding provinces with   one based in Cape Town. Netcare 911 reviews the utilisation of these specialised ambulances on an ongoing basis, with the view to possibly expanding this service in future to other provinces.

Netcare 911’s mobile ICUs are equipped with the latest medical and communications technology, enabling the paramedics to provide the same ICU standard of care to patients during transfers as they would receive in a hospital setting. The ICU ambulances are staffed by advanced life support paramedics who have undergone specialised training in order to work in these mobile units. 

Each ambulance carries resuscitation, intubation and multi-parameter vital signs monitoring equipment, adult and paediatric ventilators, infusion pumps, blood gas machines, and a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) which can transmit recordings to doctors at the receiving hospital while the ambulance is underway. Also incorporated are other specialised equipment such as a balloon pump which is used for circulatory support, and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine for both heart and respiratory support, which may be required for the en route care of vulnerable neonates, paediatric and adult patients.

Rescue service

Netcare 911 has deployed three rescue vehicles – one in Gauteng and two in KwaZulu-Natal – for use in a supportive role to municipal and other emergency services during rescue operations. The highly visible vehicles are also used in other emergency operations, for example to secure accident scenes to prevent secondary collisions and to protect the emergency staff members whilst they are working at these scenes.

The rescue units, which offer a free service to the community, are equipped with specialised extrication and rescue equipment. All Netcare 911 staff members deployed in rescue operations have appropriate medical and basic fire fighting qualifications and can perform light and heavy motor vehicle extrication, high angle and steep slope rescue, basic fire fighting, as well as aquatic and confined space extrication processes.

Netcare 911’s rescue units provide free rescue service to communities in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal

Rescue 1, which serves the communities in Gauteng, is a custom-made Ford Ranger 3,2 litre Hi-Rider SUV, which has excellent all-round terrain capabilities and carries a range of rescue gear, equipping it for many different eventualities. Equipment includes the latest range of hydraulic rescue tools, more commonly known as the jaws of life, pneumatic lifting bags, breathing apparatus, reciprocating saw, fire extinguishers, traffic cones and other safety equipment, a ladder, ropes, climbing harnesses and a rescue basket, medical equipment, a range of small tools and a variety of stabilisation equipment. An electric generator powers the roof-mounted floodlights and smaller portable lights. 

Rescue 2 is based in Durban and has the same configuration and equipment as Rescue 1. Netcare 911’s third rescue vehicle operates out of Richards Bay. 

Patient extrication and emergency medical services

Crew members from Netcare 911’s rescue unit successfully extricate a trapped and seriously injured passenger and provide her with emergency medical treatment on the scene.

High-angle rescue

In an intricate high-angle rescue operation, paramedics from Netcare 911’s rescue team first successfully stabilised and then brought an injured construction worker to safety from the third floor of a building under construction. An on-site crane and a Stokes basket were used in the mission, as stairs had not yet been constructed in the building.

Patient extrication and emergency medical services

Netcare 911 paramedics from its Rescue 2 unit assisting Ethekwini Metro and SAPS emergency services in extricating a trapped truck driver after an accident.

Next to creating life, the finest thing a person can do is to save one.” Abraham Lincoln