Since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, all medical services have been doing excellent work to fight it, on the forefront of which is the Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) ambulances which have been acting as the first response to the cases. It has central to the health sector’s efforts to maximize the containment of the pandemic in the country.
As per Dr. Robert Owen, Chief Executive Officer of the Ambulance Service, “The COVID-19 pandemic presents many challenges that we have not had to manage before, yet it is something that we have planned and prepared for in recent years.”
“Throughout the past decade, we have not only expanded capacity across our Ambulance Service but also advanced the quality of care we are able to provide to Qatar’s population. Part of this transformation has been to ensure we have the equipment and expertise to manage a pandemic like coronavirus (COVID-19). Our planning and preparation have meant we have been able to fully deliver services including the safe transportation of confirmed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, and medical services within the Industrial Area,” He adds.
As soon as the cases had started trickling down in China, the HMC had put in place and alerted its ambulance service at the Hamad International Airport to carry patients into isolation for those who showed symptoms. Those screened at the airport and if showed symptoms were carried in the ambulance to the nearby quarantine centres. As per Mr. Ali Darwish, Assistant Executive Director of the Ambulance Service, “With many thousands of passengers arriving into Qatar via the airport every day, the screening procedures enabled us to identify any passenger with a fever, one of the key symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Any passenger with fever and a travel history to affected countries was either transferred to a medical facility or taken to a quarantine centre”.
Apart from being on the frontline service against the Covid19 pandemic, the Hamad Ambulance service has also been catering to hundreds of non-covid19 emergent cases every day. “The emergence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Qatar has tested our ability to respond to an increased number of emergency calls. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a 30 percent increase in daily activity. Before COVID-19, we would typically receive around 700 calls a day – this figure has risen to around 1,000 a day in recent months,” explained Mr. Brendon Morris, Executive Director of the Ambulance Service.
“We continue to receive hundreds of call every day from people with medical emergencies with no relation to the virus and it is important for people to know that we remain available to assist anyone requiring emergency medical assistance,” added Mr. Morris.