The Minister of Health has published draft emergency medical services regulations. Interested parties have till 23 October 2014 to comment. The proposed regulations deal with ambulance services and emergency medical services including pre-hospital medical treatment and transport.

The draft regulations envisage mandatory licensing of emergency medical services.

No licence will be issued unless proof of liability insurance cover is available for the emergency medical service.

The draft is silent on what constitutes liability insurance cover and what minimum levels of cover are appropriate.

That is an issue on which both affected emergency medical service providers and insurers should be commenting. Public liability and professional liability cover would be appropriate with a minimum indemnity of at least R10million per event, having regard to the medico-legal risks which arise in providing emergency medical services.

The emergency medical service provider should carefully consider the risks, nature and quantum of possible claims and take appropriate advice from specialist brokers in the field of medical malpractice liability insurance.

A low limit of indemnity in the aggregate is unwise, having regard to the frequency of emergency medical service providers’ exposures to multiple risks.