Under court order, Magen David Adom has released data on the amount of time it takes for ambulances to respond to calls. The order was issued as part of a decision by the Tel Aviv district court in response to a lawsuit by the Israel Civil Rights Union.
In response, MDA has so far released data on response times in 50 Israeli towns and cities. The information does not include data on response times in some large cities, including Yerushalayim, Rishon LeTzion, Ra’anana, Rechovot and others. According to the data which was published in Yisrael Hayom, ambulance response times in most places exceeds the 10-minute limit the Health Ministry has asked MDA to set for itself.
According to the data, response times in towns in central Israel average 10 minutes and 45 seconds, while response times in the north average 11 minutes and 36 seconds. An emergency services vehicle, which includes more equipment that can allow further treatment at the scene of an emergency, requires respectively 10 minutes and 56 seconds and 12 minutes and 1 second to reach its destination.
The further away from a large city, for the most part, the longer the wait time for an ambulance. In Lod, for example, wait time for an ambulance is 13 minutes and 14 seconds, but in Sde Boker in southern Israel, the wait time can be as long as over 22 minutes. Also striking were the wait times in many Arab towns, which were also longer. In Kfar Kassem, located next to Rosh Ha’ayin, the wait time is 16 minutes and 36 seconds, significantly more than the average for the center region. In Tel Aviv, wait times are 11 minutes and 15 seconds for an ambulance, and 11 minutes for an emergency services vehicle.
“MDA is an organization that helps to save lives,” said an attorney for the Israel Civil Rights Union. “There is no allowance for forcing residents of the south and the north to wait longer for an ambulance to arrive than do residents of Tel Aviv. We are talking about precious moments that could mean life or death for a patient. The Health Ministry must establish clear and transparent criteria on where ambulances should be stationed, in order to ensure that all Israelis receive the basic rights of health that they deserve.” In a previous statement on the matter, MDA said that it was taking steps to improve response times in order to meet the 10-minute standard.