Vladimir Ambulance Saw Fewer Patients During the Pandemic Than Before

This was the result of staffing shortages, station closures, and "optimization"

In the Vladimir region from 2016 to 2021 the number of people to whom the ambulance came to the call decreased by 16%, according to Vladimirstat data. The agency voiced the number of people who were assisted on outpatient and outbound visits:

2016 – 470.1 thousand people;
2017 – 449.5 thousand people;
2018 – 442,000 people;
2019 – 434,100 people;
2020 – 406.7 thousand people;
2021 – 394.6 thousand people.

The volume of medical care has been declining in all years since at least 2016, but it was in the coronavirus year of 2020 that the decline was most pronounced. The department does not give reasons why this happened, but it can be assumed that this was the result of a large number of complicated cases requiring hospitalization, as well as increased time to transport a patient to a medical facility. At the height of the pandemic, when coronavirus beds in the regional center were filled, patients were taken to hospitals 100 kilometers away from Vladimir.

In addition to the reduction of ambulance services over the past seven years, the number of ambulance stations has also decreased. In 2016 there were 27, but by 2021 there were 21.

Over the past five years, the indicator of staffing of ambulance stations (departments) with medical personnel has been constantly changing downward. The ratio of employed to staffed physician positions decreased from 70.1% in 2016 to 31.1% in 2021. From 2016 to 2021, ambulance staffing by nursing staff decreased from 74% to 62.7%. Nurses were laid off the fastest in 2018 and 2019, before the pandemic. In the coronavirus years of 2020 and 2021, the regional health department managed to retain staff.

Earlier, ProVladimir, based on data from the data department of Novaya Gazeta, found that the greatest deterioration in the regional ambulance service over the past six years was felt by rural residents. The requirement for ambulances to reach a call in 20 minutes after “optimization” of stations turned out to be unrealizable; one-third of rural residents are waiting longer than the norm for a brigade.

There are 208,022 citizens living outside the norm in Region 33. About 5% of villagers will at best see a doctor an hour after the call. In 2019, despite the protests of local residents, the ambulance station in Orgtruda closed. Now the settlements of Sokol, Oslavskoe and Dobrynskoe, close to Vladimir, are beyond the 20-minute threshold.

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