Dubai to get bus hospitals


DUBAI - The Dubai Centre for Ambulance Services will introduce three ‘bus hospitals’ with intensive care units by early next year to significantly reduce the time taken to give medical attention to victims of road accidents.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 1:50 AM

Last updated: Mon 20 Nov 2023, 4:00 PM

The ‘mass casualty buses’ will feature an operation theatre and seating for people with minor injuries for treatment as they are ferried to hospitals.

Currently, critical patients are airlifted to nearby hospitals by the Dubai Police Air Wing helicopters or transported by ambulance.

The introduction of the buses to the existing ambulance fleet comes at a time when Dubai's roads have witnessed major accidents in the recent times — the worst being the collision of over 150 vehicles that killed four people and injured over 317 others on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway in March this year.

To be made operational under the Dubai Centre for Ambulance Services, the two 12-metre long solo models and the 18-metre articulated bus will be equipped with several medical features including intensive care units. An official from the ambulance centre said the buses will be used only during emergencies, but refused to divulge details. Currently, the centre has a fleet of over 80 ambulances distributed in 51 points of Dubai police stations, hospitals, primary health centres, shopping centres, tourist sites and the Dubai International Airport. The buses will be designed using two different purpose-built layouts.

One of them could carry 15 patients and would have an operation theatre and room for additional 10 passenger seats for slightly injured people, explained Abdul Aziz Al Midfa, chairman of Cytomed Middle East, a supplier of emergency medical services (EMS) equipment and services which include consultancy, products and trainings in the EMS field and disaster management to the ambulance centre.

Another type of bus could carry up to 38 patients and would have seven intermediate care units, an intensive care unit, and up to 30 passenger seats for slightly injured people.

The 18 metre-long articulate version will create a space suitable for 29 patients, 12 intermediate care units, two intensive care units, an operation theatre, and 14 seats for the slightly injured. Each bus will also have extra room allocated for paramedics, medical equipment storage, X-ray machines and stretchers.

Says Al Midfa: “One of the advantages is that they can work as a complete mobile hospital unit when placed in the same vicinity, or they can each be positioned in different areas within Dubai for maximum effectiveness.”

An EMS German consultant, Dr Martin von Berg, will conduct a full disaster management training programme through different simulated scenarios where the the buses' capabilities would be highlighted. He would familiarise the staff on how to operate these units before they are introduced.

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