Two-thirds of Dutch ambulance services do not respond within the set time limit
According to research from the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions (FNV) Health & Welfare, two-thirds of ambulance services do not arrive on the scene of high priority incidents within the set amount of time. Ambulance services must arrive at the scene of an emergency within 15 minutes, 95 percent of the time; this is the set standard.
The FNV compared the 2016 annual figures from all ambulance services and found that only a few ambulance services managed to respond on scene within the set standard. Last year, 41.000 ambulances arrived later than 15 minutes, an increase of 1.500 compared to 2015, according to figures from Ambulance Care Netherlands.
The percentage of emergency responses which do occur within 15 minutes, has been fluctuating around 93,5 percent for years, reports Ambulance Care Netherlands, who also emphasizes that the standard applies to journeys under normal circumstances and not those where a bridge is open, for example.
The number of high priority emergency ambulance journeys has risen from around 610.000 to 630.000 in 2016. With this in mind, ambulance services responded to emergency incidents, relatively speaking, just as quickly as they did the previous year.
Not enough staff
The FNV says that the reason for the increase in emergency response times is due to a lack of employees, coupled with the rising demand for ambulance services and the ageing population in the Netherlands.
In addition to the shortage of employees working in the ambulance service, many are also going for jobs as nurses in hospitals, as the wages are higher and the working hours more regular.
A shortage of staff is indeed evident, however, it not only applies to ambulance services, but to all areas of Dutch healthcare, Ambulance Care Netherlands states.
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