(photo credit: COURTESY MDA)
An arrangement to regulate the lifesaving activities of Magen David Adom and United Hatzalah has been produced by the Health Ministry in the hope that the organizations will cooperate.
Dr. Sefi Mendelovic, the medical adviser to ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov, worked for months on the arrangement, in the form of a circular that regulates work procedures and cooperation between them. The aim is to optimize and maximize the organizations’ emergency activity and benefit the general public.
The organizations – which have been in conflict for years – agreed that calls for help around the country would be sent through MDA’s call center, which will locate medics and paramedics closest to the scene, regardless of their organizational affiliation.
For this purpose, MDA will be responsible for developing a joint smartphone application that will be accessible to staff and volunteers at MDA and volunteers at UH. Until now, the two organizations have been working with separate, incompatible apps.
UH founder and president Eli Beer told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that as a result of the arrangement, his organization will stop its radio and other ads to encourage people in trouble to call its 1221 number.
“Instead, they should call 101 for MDA, which will keep UH informed of all emergency callers and their locations.
We will continue to use our existing app to locate our volunteers as well to minimize the response time,” he added.
The ministry will supervise the operation of the arrangement between the two organizations and receive a detailed report on the scope of events and additional data required for monitoring.
Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, who in the past few years had tried but failed to make peace between the two organizations, congratulated them on their important work in saving lives and on their willingness to cooperate in implementing the plan.
Asked to comment, Beer said he was very happy that an agreement had been reached after years of strife between the organizations. “We were deprived of vital information to reach those in trouble.
Recently, we were willing to deal only with the ministry, because MDA did not keep agreements.” He added that MDA agreed to the new arrangement after realizing that a large number of calls for help came directly to UH rather than MDA, especially in cities and towns with large ultra-Orthodox populations.
Beer added: “We don’t demand titles or honor. We want to save lives. Unlike MDA, we provide all services free of charge and solely on the basis of volunteers. Our aim is to reach the sick and injured within 90 seconds by ambucycle, and when MDA ambulances come later, we are happy to turn them over so they can take them to the hospital. We wanted to receive all data on calls for help. This new arrangement is exactly what we wanted. We hope to work together with MDA.”
MDA spokesman Zaki Heller expressed the thanks of MDA director-general Eli Bin to Litzman and his ministry professionals on reaching the arrangement. “In MDA, we work with everyone in full cooperation and welcome all who aim to save lives, including UH,” he said.