Ambulance crews to shrink in future due to staff shortages

A gradual transition from three-person to two-person ambulance crews by 2026 is one of the solutions proposed in the pre-hospital emergency medical service strategy 2020, Liene Cipule, director of the Emergency Medical Service (NMPD), said at a news conference August 28, reported the LETA newswire.

The head of the Emergency Medical Service said that the service’s future plans had to be adjusted to trends in the labor market and Latvia’s demographic situation. Although there is no concrete time frame for the transition to two-person ambulance crews, it is absolutely clear that the switch must take place in the next five to six years, she said.

Cipule said that three-person ambulance crews will be preserved wherever possible, including for responding to high-priority call-outs. At the same time, the Emergency Medical Service is prepared for situations where three-person ambulance crews are not available.

In Cipule’s words, the Emergency Medical Service is already short of 587 medics and another 200 employees will soon retire from the service. Hiring such a high number of staff is unrealistic, even if Latvia imported labor from other countries. It is therefore essential to carry out the reforms now, so that the Emergency Medical Service is ready to cope with the staff shortages, Cipule said.

The Emergency Medical Service’s new strategy outlines solutions aimed at shortening ambulances’ response time, increase their availability and improve the quality of services.

Despite funding and staffing pressures, Latvia has some excellent ambulance crews, as attested by the fact that they won the best international team award at a recent competition in Estonia.

 

Should you ever need to summon an ambulance in Latvia, the number to call is 113.

 

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