Materia Medica Malaysiana

September 13, 2007

Emergency service revamp

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:14 am

Star: PUTRAJAYA: Emergency care services are set for a major overhaul early next year, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said.
The measures include training ambulance drivers on basic emergency care, procurement of new vehicles and equipment, and centralised call centres in every state hospital.
Dr Ismail said the first phase of the drivers’ training module, already sent out to each state, included educating them on their role and job functions, how to inspect their vehicle, adherence to traffic rules, ethics, effective communication and driving techniques.
The second module, he said, would teach them basic emergency care like cardiopulmonary resuscitation, how to carry a stretcher and use a wheelchair, treat wounds and immobilise patients correctly.
“We accept that ambulance services can be better,” Dr Ismail told reporters yesterday.
“We cannot have the driver just being a driver. He has to be multi-skilled.
“The driver himself must be part of the management team in order to carry the stretcher and provide help.”
A future plan includes training medical assistants to drive ambulances, he added.
Dr Ismail said it was the responsibility of directors from state health departments, hospitals and clinics to ensure that training was carried out.
“This includes making sure ambulances and equipment are inspected every morning and maintained regularly,” he said.
“Life would be much easier if they adhered to standard operating procedures.”
He added that emergency phone calls to a centralised centre would be channelled to the 24-hour call centre in a particular state and subsequently help would be sent out.
At the moment, there were such call centres in four locations: Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Klang.
Dr Ismail said that in cases where “not much” technical expertise was required, St John’s Ambulance vehicles would be used as a temporary measure.
There are more than 1,000 ambulances in the country.
In cities like Kuala Lumpur, motorcycles fitted with proper equipment are also used to reach emergency scenes.
Dr Ismail said the ministry was striving to ensure that help arrived within 15 minutes.

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