Defense forces prepared to send 30 paramedics to support hospitals

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Conscripts. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Estonian defense forces are prepared to send 30 of their paramedics to provide assistance in hospitals that are struggling due to a large number of coronavirus patients and a lack of medical personnel, regional newspaper Louna-Eesti Postimees reports.

The medical personnel of the defense forces are definitely needed in the defense forces' own medical centers and they cannot be deployed, chief doctor of the defense forces, Lt. Col. Targo Lusti, said.

"Those of us who are employed as medics as a secondary activity are already providing help," he added.

95 percent of paramdics in the defense forces have already been vaccinated so that they can immediately start providing assistance when needed, Lusti said.

"Our total number of paramedics, conscripts included, is 180; however, we can provide up to 30 people at a time as permanent support, so to speak. That way, we'll be able to maintain some form of rotation," he said.

The defense forces have signed placement contracts with emergency medical services of Tallinn and Tartu, as well as with the University of Tartu Hospital and Ida Viru Central Hospital. In order to expand the list of hospitals where the defense forces could provide additional assistance, supplementary contracts should be signed, the chief doctor said.

Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet (Reform) told Louna-Eesti Postimees last week that if the Estonian health care system needs medical support from the defense forces, it will be provided.

"All they need to do is send an invitation," Laanet said.

During the emergency situation last spring, the Defense Forces provided help to Kuressaare Hospital by constructing a field hospital in the carpark.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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