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Gov’t urges hospitals to reduce ambulance transportation for non-urgent cases

14 Comments

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare have made an official appeal to local municipalities across the country to limit ambulance transportation between hospitals in non-emergency cases.

The request was issued after the government released the latest ambulance dispatch data, showing that the total emergency vehicle use in 2015 stood at over 6 million cases, the highest in Japan’s history, Fuji TV reported. Among them, ambulance transportation between hospitals was used approximately 500,000 times last year.

In many of the cases, ambulance transportation from one hospital to another was used even in cases that lacked emergency, government officials say.

As a result of the findings, the Ministry appealed for the use of other means in cases the patient is not in a critical or emergency condition.

© Japan Today

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14 Comments
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If its not urgent make them pay its simple no?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Like what? Use taxis? 500 thousand doesn't sound like a huge number when the total is six million though. But I'm often puzzled by the leisured pace of ambulances even while they are employing their sirens, lights and peculiar chatter.

3 ( +5 / -1 )

The ambulances in most of a japan are just a taxi with lights. The medics are not well trained in emergency treatment, they usually need to have a doctor come out if the patient is in bad shape.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeah, if you are not in a hurry lights and siren's off! Living remotely near a hospital is really hard! I don't mind in an emergency but when they are busy moving normally then it isn't an emergency. (every hour or 2)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Like it matters, in Japan the ambulance staff cannot provide the proper medical care as in most countries, i.e. place an IV, provide adrenaline shot, much less give any medicine period. About the only thing that is good about the ambulance but even that depends on the prefecture and locality is the time it takes to arrive at the real hospital.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I assume the government is complaining because of the costs. I would say keep providing the transport service between hospitals but in non-emergency use, but charge a special option fee just as hospitals do for private rooms. Sometimes it is impossible for the patient to travel by taxi but in this case the fees would be covered by insurance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Easy. If it's proven to be a non-emergency, charge them for the ride. No reason it should be covered by the health insurance plan when it is not serious and they could have gotten there by another means. Many countries charge for an ambulance ride, regardless of health care, and in some countries calling an ambulance, police, or the fire department when it's not an emergency can result in massive fines and jail time, as they may miss an actual emergency (not so much in the case of police, but definitely with fire fighters).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Some people call the ambulance just to go to the doctor!!! Its not even an emergency!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If it's proven to be a non-emergency, charge them for the ride.

Then what happens is that some people who are low on cash, and actually need an ambulance, won't call one if they aren't sure they need it - and will die.

But hey, as long as we save a few bucks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"In many of the cases, ambulance transportation from one hospital to another was used even in cases that lacked emergency"

Bad management.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One Japanese doctor told me he was on night duty one night and he received a call very late while he was trying to catch some much needed sleep in his room. He went down and met the ambulance as it was backing up into the emergency area. When the back doors of the ambulance opened up, a woman walked out. He looked at her while pointing towards her and said, "Areii?" The woman just walked past him to be taken care of, as it turned out, for a headache. The doctor told me that some patients do this because taking the ambulance is free so it's cheaper than a taxi.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Slap a $2000 charge on the ambulance for non emergency use. They`ll soon start taking taxis instead as they are cheaper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But I'm often puzzled by the leisured pace of ambulances even while they are employing their sirens, lights and peculiar chatter.

Ambulances here by law are not supposed to travel over the speed limit. Of course they can go through red lights, are supposed to be give the right of way, but can not speed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Define non-urgent ? Use ambulance like a taxi for moving from point A to point B, sure granted and this must stop...but before fining people, make sure you have clear definition of what is "non-urgent" and surely you do not want a govt which want to reduce on medical spending while financing more pork barrel projects to decide for you. Usually you can say it was non-urgent once you got into the doctors in the hospital. I am seeing here a dangerous attempt to make the patient to practice self censoring on calling ambulance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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