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Shanghai enhances emergency medical services

By Lin Shujuan | | Updated: 2022-12-25 17:40
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Shanghai has moved to enhance its medical emergency service to ensure the urgent medical needs of patients amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, saic the city's medical authority.

Over the past week, the city, which has 1,251 ambulances and 4,046 paramedics in its municipal emergency center and nine suburban sub-centers, has registered a steady daily increase in the incoming calls of its medical emergency hotline: 120, according to the city's health commission.

On Dec 23, the hotline received 51,852 calls, up by 4.7 percent from the previous day, resulting in 5,101 ambulance trips, which registered an increase of 33.5 percent from the previous week, said the commission.

To ensure the growing need of pre-hospital emergency needs, the city has sent 191 doctors and 45 anesthesiologists from its major tertiary hospitals to support the municipal emergency center, and 56 doctors from district-affiliated hospitals to support the suburban emergency centers, the commission said.

The commission said it has also been closely monitoring the operation of the 120 ambulances across the city. For hospitals with serious backlogs, they will immediately contact the main leaders of the hospitals to request faster coordination and give priority to the treatment of patients transferred by 120 ambulances.

All hospitals across the city have also increased service for the emergency departments by adding more medical staff, expanding the venue and introducing other measures, such as increasing the number of stretcher beds and accelerating patient diversion so as to give priority to emergency patients who need to be hospitalized, the commission said.

Sun Jianyue, vice president of Putuo District Centeral Hospital, said the hospital has gone all out to ensure the smooth operation of its emergency care, which has been experiencing mounting pressure from a surge of patients over the past two weeks.

The hospital's fever clinic, which is part of the hospital's emergency department, usually receiving a daily of 60 to 100 patients during its normal days, has experienced a 10-fold increase in patient visits over the past week, Sun said.

"The increase is partly because we're now entering the high season when the elderly with fundamental diseases would experience medical resurgences," Sun said. "The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has only exacerbated the situation."

On one hand, the hospital is running with a shortage of medical staff when they are down with COVID-19. On the other hand, a surge in COVID-19 infections has resulted in a spike of patients.

Yet Sun said the worst has passed as more of her colleagues are recovering from COVID-19 and returning to work.

To alleviate the pressure to the city's major hospitals, Shanghai has also, since Dec 19, put into operation a total of 2,594 fever clinics in its community health service centers and village clinics.

In just four days, the fever diagnosis and treatment of community health service institutions has increased from less than 5% of the city's total to 50.2%, according to the health commission.

In contrast, the proportion of fever clinics in the city's major hospitals has dropped from 58% to 18.7%, the commission said.

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