There have been major changes in pre-hospital emergency care training and education in South African over the past 30 years. This has culminated in the publication of a regulation that brings an end to an era of short courses in emergency care and paves the way for the implementation of the National Emergency Care Education and Training (NECET) policy. The policy envisions a 1-year higher certificate, a 2-year diploma and the 4-year professional degree in emergency medical care. This paper aims to describe the history of emergency care education and training in South Africa that culminated in the NECET policy. The lessons in the professional development of pre-hospital emergency care education and training may have application for emergency medical services in other countries.
The migration of existing emergency medical services personnel to the new higher education qualification structure is a major challenge. The transition to the new framework will take time due to the many challenges that must be overcome before the vision of the policy is realised. Ongoing engagement with all stakeholders is necessary for the benefits envisioned in the NECET policy to be realised.
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