x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi bolsters ambulance staff

Police have hired 170 ambulance staff from Jordan to deal with a surge in demand for emergency services

Some 10,000 emergency 999 calls were logged during the first six months of this year.
Some 10,000 emergency 999 calls were logged during the first six months of this year.

ABU DHABI // Police have hired 170 ambulance staff from Jordan to deal with a surge in demand for emergency services following concerns that a lack of staff was placing lives at risk. The Abu Dhabi Police's emergency and public safety department instituted the hiring drive after an internal review showed its emergency response capabilities were dwindling as the population surges. Col Uthman Yusuf al Tamimi, the director of the department, said police became concerned that critically ill or injured patients could die because ambulances were not able to reach them in time due to a "noticeable increase in demand". He reported that some 10,000 emergency 999 calls were logged during the first six months of this year, and that overall 334 of those patients died. The department was unable to provide comparable figures for other six-month periods, and it was unclear if any of the patients who died would have lived had there been more ambulance staff. "One-hundred-and-seventy new first-aid men from Jordan have joined our team," Said Col al Tamimi said. "We are no longer understaffed. The new staff will enable us to offer more services, more ambulances and patrols." He added that the new staff were also needed because the ambulance network, which covers Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia, formerly known as the Western Region, had been expanded. The department has already opened several new ambulance stations as part of the expansion. Eighty-three of the new ambulance officers will be assigned to the Al Ain ambulance and rescue branch alone. The official said police had attempted to recruit qualified Emiratis, but could not find enough right away. He said the department had chosen to recruit from Jordan, but has previously recruited from Tunisia as well. "This will enhance the role of Abu Dhabi Police general directorate to deal with various incidents quickly and efficiently. In many emergency cases, time is what counts," he said. "By having more staff, we will be able to provide more patrols and the patients will not have to be moved to hospitals due to the high quality services provided. Our ambulances and aeroplanes are medically well-equipped to deal with emergencies." hhassan@thenational.ae