A FIRST FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
June 13, 2014
By Audrey Fraizer
April 20, 2014, is a date that will go down in Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service (Doha, Qatar) communication history.
Although the day started out along the same routine—if there is such a thing for an ambulance service—by mid-day Sonia Bounouh was ready to put on her jogging shoes after completing one of her longest races of her life.
“We were ACE,” she said. “We received word that weekend, and I knew we’d be running to NAVIGATOR.”
Bounouh, the communication center’s QI manager, and Ezeldin al-Yafei, operations manager, were among the representatives from 10 agencies worldwide accepting certificates of new medical and fire accreditations during the Opening Session at NAVIGATOR 2014. Forty-six comm. centers qualified for medical and fire re-accreditation.
The Hamad Medical Corporation comm. center is the first ACE recipient in the Middle East.
“We’ve worked so hard to measure up to the ACE standard,” Bounouh said. “Being the first ACE makes this even more exciting.”
And now, she said, it would be party time in Qatar.
Following NAVIGATOR, Bounouh and al-Yafei planned to extend invitations for an ACE celebration to Hamad Medical Corporation leaders and local dignitaries. They will “unveil” the medical ACE certificate and acknowledge staff for the strides made since reintroducing the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) Protocol in 2010 following a several year hiatus.
The going wasn’t easy, at least at first, said al-Yafei, who started as a calltaker at the center in 2005. Then came the turnaround.
“When I look back, it was like the American scrambled eggs,” he said. “Once they learned the right way, they forgot how they were working before.”
Hamad Medical Corporation manages eight hospitals in Qatar and the national ambulance service under the command of the Supreme Council of Health.
The ambulance service responds to more than 90,000 calls each year through the support of 167 ambulances, 20 rapid response vehicles, and a Life Flight air ambulance helicopter.
According to Hamad Medical Corporation’s annual report (2012–2013): “There was a significant increase in ambulance service volumes during the year driven by a combination of improved call handling and increased public awareness in regard for the service.”
Qatar is located in western Asia, occupying the small peninsula of Qatar on the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Saudi Arabia to the south. Only about one-quarter of the 1.8 million people living in Qatar are citizens.