No urgent medical aid guaranteed for 250,000 Flemings

A quarter of a million Flemings are not guaranteed urgent medical help by a so-called MUG team (a medical intervention team that includes a doctor) or a similar emergency team that includes a nurse. That's according to a report in De Standaard. Certain areas in Flanders have no hospital in the area.

The statistics were compiled by the National Council for Hospital Services. Their research covered the whole of Belgium. The good news is that a large majority of 7.5 million Belgians can be reached by a MUG team or comparable team with a nurse within a time span of 15 minutes. However, other areas are harder to reach by ambulances, and also have no hospital in the immediate surroundings.

In these places, it takes longer than 15 minutes before a medical aid team with a qualified doctor or nurse is on the spot. In Flanders, 8 different areas are concerned, accounting for a total of 250,000 residents. Frank Lippens of the National Council gives the example of Heist-op-den-Berg and Aarschot (north of Leuven). "These municipalities are rather densely populated, but we don't have a hospital there. We have seen quite some calls for urgent medical help after people suffered a heart attack for example."

This problem could be solved by creating special local teams of nurses, but prevention is of course even better. It is argued that all citizens should get a basic training to give basic medical aid in the case of, for example, someone suffering from a heart failure. A general reanimation training course wouldn't be a bad idea, the Council suggests.