New plan for rescues in under 8 minutes
In a bid to reduce thousands of deaths, rescue services plan to get medical help within eight minutes to victims with severe accident and emergency injuries."If we could get to the patients within eight minutes, we could save [many] lives and also reduce the cost of treatment while rescuing them," National Emergency Medical Institute (NEMI)'s newly elected secretary-general Dr Anucha Settasathian said.
At present, the emergency response team can arrive at a scene of an accident within an average 10 minutes - but this period is often not enough to save patients' lives. Improved responses was part of a National Emergency Medical Service Plan to better the quality of medical rescue.
"We will improve the capacity of emergency medical services and create more rescue networks of medical staff as soon as possible," Anucha said. Under the four-year-plan from 2013-2017, NEMI will reduce travel time to accident scenes and stand-by around the clock to provide emergency medical services.
To date, there are about 15,000 emergency ambulances across the country. Last year alone, the emergency response teams saved the lives of over 2 million victims. NEMI predicts this number will increase to 4 million a year in the next four years.
Critical conditions which need emergency treatment include severe injury from road accidents, coronary heart disease, mother and child symptoms, and giving birth.
Such cases have the highest number of patients receiving emergency medical services, followed by road accidents.
But at present there are only 247 emergency medical physicians to provide emergency services around the country, according to the health research and development office. Each emergency medical physician has to work at least 300 hours a month in rescue efforts.
Thailand needs at least 1,200 medical doctors to treat emergency patients.
Also, the Kingdom needs 1,400 to 1,500 emergency nurses to take care of patients.
To help critically hurt patients the government last year started a healthcare scheme providing unlimited emergency medical treatment for patients registered with three national health care schemes - the National Health Security Fund, Social Security Fund, and Civil Servant Medical Benefit Fund.
Last year, 14,525 people covered by the three schemes underwent emergency treatment from April 1 to December 31.
The government had paid Bt254 million in support to the scheme.
The National Health Security Office said the most common illnesses found among emergency patients were respiratory, severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bowel inflammation, appendicitis, cases who stopped breathing, cardiovascular, high fever, exhaustion, neurological and brain problems.