Over the next few years, the number of ambulances in the country will increase, but nany brigades will not have a doctor aboard emergency vehicles. Health officials say this will not diminish the quality of ambulance services.
There are plans to set up 12 new brigades and to hire 80 new employees. There will then be 96 ambulance vehicles with nurses and an additional 15 with doctors, reported ETV. That will leave some counties without ambulance doctors.
"For 11 years, we have paid close attention to the quality and access to services of doctor and nurse-equipped brigades I can confirm that there is no difference," said a senior Health Board official, Üllar Kaljumäe.
One ambulance doctor, Mare Liiger, who has held her job for 30 years but was recently laid off, said doctor-equipped ambulances are a necessity. She said there are 2,000 ambulance calls per year that require a doctor to be on the scene.
"It is a painful loss for patients with heart disease or who are otherwise unstable and must be transported 50 kilometers by ambulance," said Liiger, who says she plans to find work in Finland.