x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A new type of care: fleet of Mercedes ambulances help to save lives every day in the Northern Emirates

The National Ambulance service has responded to more than 8,000 call-outs and has helped 3,000 victims of road traffic accidents in just three months since its launch.

Since the launch of a new fleet of ambulances serving the Northern Emirates there have been more than 8,000 call-outs and 3,000 victims of road traffic accidents helped. And the dispatch team has helped rescue eight abandoned babies and assisted in the delivery of one. Courtesy National Ambulance
Since the launch of a new fleet of ambulances serving the Northern Emirates there have been more than 8,000 call-outs and 3,000 victims of road traffic accidents helped. And the dispatch team has helped rescue eight abandoned babies and assisted in the delivery of one. Courtesy National Ambulance

ABU DHABI // A fleet of new ambulances has helped to save lives across the Northern Emirates every day since its launch.

The National Ambulance service has responded to more than 8,000 calls and has helped 3,000 victims of road traffic accidents.

These cases included eight abandoned babies and rescue teams also helped in the delivery of a newborn.

“It is evident that our people are saving lives every day and they are justifiably proud of what they are doing,” said Robert Ball, the chief executive of the service, which launched on February 24.

“We are reaching people across the community. It is still very early days but it is clear the team is making a difference to citizens and residents.”

The fleet of 20 state-of-the-art Mercedes ambulances operate out of eight key ambulance points and 22 sub-locations.

The service employs 179 emergency medical technicians to provide round-the-clock coverage to emergencies in Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Sharjah and Fujairah.

About half of all emergency calls have been in Sharjah.

“Our teams work closely with Civil Defence and the police,” said Mr Ball. “A recent multiple casualty incident required the activation of the police air wing at Sharjah.

“Together we were able to transport all the patients to receive additional care.

“The co-operation across all levels of the emergency services has been a key factor in the success of the service.”

Mr Ball said it was important to have 24/7 coverage to give patients in an emergency the best chance of survival.

“Our focus and primary task is to handle all emergency calls and allow the hospitals and other agencies to handle inter-hospital and non-emergency transport,” Mr Ball said.

“Once our teams arrive on the scene they are able to rapidly assess, stabilise and then transport to the closest government hospital.”

The service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, he said.

“Access to this level of care is world class and is reflective of the continued investment in health care for the citizens and residents of the Northern Emirates.

“The ambulances are well equipped and meeting our expectations, our staff have readily been accepted by the community and together with their colleagues from Civil Defence and Ministry of the Interior, we are delivering on the commitment made by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, to the people of the Northern Emirates.”

Feedback to the service, said Mr Ball, has been extremely positive.

“We have provided our staff with Arabic training, with a specific focus on clinical questions, this together with a special phrase book has been essential in communicating with some more elderly citizens. The hospitals are happy with the level of patient handover.

“The people are getting a level of pre-hospital care that simply did not exist previously.”

Now the new service has passed its first three months, Mr Ball said there are plans to build on this work.

“We are closely reviewing all our patient data and looking for opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“We have invested additional resources to allow our communications team members the ability to locate a caller using geospatial information, which contains thousands of landmarks and well-known points in the Northern Emirates.”

Phase two of the rollout will see a gradual increase in the number of ambulances deployed in the Northern Emirates, he said.

“We look forward to continuing to develop the service to meet the growing needs of the communities in which we operate.”

jbell@thenational.ae