Impact of workplace violence towards public service emergency care providers on access to emergency medical care in Gauteng Province, South Africa

T Khoza, MN Sibiya, N Mshunqane


Background. Workplace violence is a global concern that threatens access to equal and efficient healthcare in developing countries.
Objective. To discuss the impact of workplace violence towards Gauteng Province-based public service emergency care providers on access to emergency medical care within Gauteng communities.
Methods. This study was based on a larger non-experimental, convergent parallel mixed-methods study guided by an interpretive framework founded on pragmatism. Evidence on workplace violence towards Gauteng-based public service prehospital emergency care providers was collected from the general population of Gauteng, sampled using multistage cluster sampling, public service emergency care providers, sampled using two-stage cluster sampling and purposively sampled managers of Gauteng Emergency Medical Services as well as South African Police Services. Surveys were used to gather information from the general population, focus group discussions
were conducted with prehospital emergency care providers and semi-structured interviews were conducted to engage managers. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently, and findings were triangulated. Parallel mixed-methods analysis that involved separate analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data was used to analyse the data.
Results. A total of 413 survey questionnaires comprising of 196 web-based and 218 paper-based responses were included in the quantitative subphase of the study. The majority (66.1%; n=273) of participants resided in townships, 24.5% (n=101) in the city, 3.6% (n=15) in informal settlements, 2.9% (n=12) in school accommodation or school residences and only 2.9% (n=12) in flats, complexes, rural areas, security estates, smallholdings or suburbs. These are the participants who met the inclusion criteria, and specifically who were non-members of medical schemes and resided in communities where public service emergency care providers mostly render their services. For the qualitative subphase, two subthemes emerged during the interviews of managers supporting access to emergency medical care in Gauteng. The themes were ‘limited access to emergency medical care’ and ‘delayed response time’. At the same time a theme ‘leaving a violent scene’ emerged from the prehospital emergency care providers’ focus group discussions.
Conclusion. The study revealed that workplace violence towards public service prehospital emergency care providers has a negative impact on access to emergency medical care among low- to middle-income communities in Gauteng who depend on state-funded healthcare.

Authors' affiliations

T Khoza, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, South Africa

MN Sibiya, Division of Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Durban, South Africa

N Mshunqane, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Public Health (incorporating Strengthening Health Systems) 2022;5(4):. DOI:10.7196/sajph+%28shs%29.163

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-10-28
Date published: 2022-10-28

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