Emergency Medical Services Lagging

Ambulances must also have online access to data on vacant hospital beds.Ambulances must also have online access to data on vacant hospital beds.

Improvements in emergency medical services under the 2014 Health Reform Plan notwithstanding, this sector still lags both in terms of equipment and human resources.

Pir-Hussein Kolivand, head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services, pointed to several shortcomings in the key sector while addressing the 11th annual Emergency Medicine Congress last week.

“Lack of proper telecommunication infrastructure has made it difficult to call emergency hotlines as modern technology apparently has not been used,” he said, the Azad University News Agency reported.

Traffic congestion and drivers’ poor cooperation also reduces the speed of aid delivery. “Motorcycle ambulances can help speed up arrival time in metropolises and 200 motorbikes will soon be added to the emergency fleet.”

He also called for enhancing air emergency services to enable timely medical aid for the injured in hard-to-reach places.

Limited medical services in hospital emergency rooms, shortage of hospital beds, and staff’s lack of familiarity with the duties of the 115 emergency services are among other issues that need to be addressed, said Kolivand.

“Ambulances must also have online access to data on vacant hospital beds.”

Proper education is an essential prerequisite of quality medical services. In-service training programs for both pre-hospital and hospital emergency as well as specialized colleges offering courses on this subject can help create specialized medical emergency personnel, he opined.

“Pre-hospital emergency medicine services have a deficit of 14,000 workers not to mention the lack of nurses in the hospital emergency sections.”

  Plans to Develop EMS

Plans however are underway to develop the emergency services sector, he said, referring to the scheme to standardize emergency services that kicked off in early 2015 with the aim to enhance the quality of emergency medicine. Adding 5,000 beds in the hospitals by the end of the present administration’s term in mid-2017 is part of the program.

There are 1.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people in Iran according to World Bank data, while the figure is 13.5 in Japan, 10.5 in South Korea, 7.5 in European countries, and 2.7 in Turkey.

Around 12,000 beds have been provided to state-run hospitals and 24,000 more will be added by the end of the current fiscal year in March.  

“Around 17 emergency service centers in East and West Azarbaijan, North Khorasan, Yazd and Lorestan have so far been completed and 27 others will hopefully be ready by the end of the year,” said Abouzar Abbasi, director of the scheme.

The plan to develop and renovate the emergency wings in hospitals has made progress in Taleqani, Rasoul, Shariati, Loqman and some other hospitals in Tehran, Kolivand said, reported.

He added that within the next six months all pre-hospital emergency stations will be renewed or shifted to modern buildings, and old buildings will be reconstructed.

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