ER waits average three hours, occasionally causing permanent disability and even death

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January 6, 2016 03:37
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The Health Ministry will soon create a smartphone app that will report on how fast it should take to reach the nearest emergency room, and on the estimated time one would have to wait there for treatment.

The app was announced Tuesday at a meeting of the Knesset State Control Committee on the second annual Knesset Health Day, organized by the Israel Medical Association (IMA). Various types of physicians were on duty for a few hours in the Knesset to offer medical screening tests to MKs, visitors and employees.

MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who chairs the committee, said action must be taken now to improve ERs.

“The State Comptroller has said that patients died or became permanently disabled because their medical problems were not identified in time. The quality of service there directly and indirectly affects people’s health in the short and long term,” Elharar said.

“The Health Ministry can’t wait every year until the emergency rooms collapse under the burden, which is growing every year,” she added.

At present, the average wait in an ER is three hours, but each case depends on the seriousness of the condition and the time of the day and year. There are some three million emergency room visits annually.

The comptroller found that no maximum amount of time for a doctor coming and giving treatment had been set. In addition, there was no policy on urgent care facilities – some of which are unlicensed – Elharar said.


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