Emergency medical services provide urgent care in sudden life-threatening situations. Emergency medical services are provided by a dense network of private and public providers operating in a total of 280 areas accessible to patients within 15 minutes of the emergency call (in 95% of Slovak territory).
The Ministry of Health has prepared a draft of Decree to amend the emergency medical service. Since October, every car should have a defibrillator with ECG monitoring of the heart and all ambulances should be equipped with new drugs. The operator will communicate with ambulance vehicle via Internet. By clicking on tablet ambulance can indicates the position and status whether ambulance is in the field or on the way to the hospital, or free. Mandatory equipment of ambulances should for example be equipment used by health insurance companies for records of patient data. Companies that operate rescue stations have not yet expressed caution. They appreciate this proposal as it will help to improve first aid; however, this amendment will increase their costs.
The Ministry of Health has released the results of the second round of the tender for the license for providing ambulances. Within it Ministry reallocated licenses to operate 124 ambulances of ground emergency medical service. As is apparent from the results, the most of them received Falck Záchranná, Záchranná a dopravná zdravotnícka služba Bratislava, Záchranná služba Košice and ZaMED. Licences are valid for next six years, not four as it was in past. The first round of the tender was not successful for several regional hospitals. Their stations were acquired by private or public companies. In the second round several hospitals, on the contrary, obtain the licenses to continue the existing station.
Ministry of health care has announced a tender on 74 licenses for operation of ambulance cars. The reason is that the current licenses are expiring. Last year the first two rounds took place. We are still waiting for the results of the second round. Because of the first round the chief of the resort Zuzana Zvolenská had to face an attempt for removal from the office by the parliament. The new licenses, for which the applicants can ask till 17th of March, should according to new legislation be in force for six years instead of current four years. Amended law about the providers of health care at the same time brought the obligation to submit together with the request for the issuing the permission also the statement about personal ensuring of operation of ambulance and the project of strategy and development of ambulances.
The first round of the tender for licenses for emergency ambulance did not end successfully for several regional hospitals. They have been replaced by private or state companies. Emergency ambulances (EMTs) are considered one of the most profitable areas in the health sector, so hospitals will probably miss the sources. Licences will be re redistributed after six years. As is clear from the published results of the tender, the licenses to operate 76 ambulances ground emergency medical services are reallocate among the LSE-Life Star Emergency, Falck Záchranná, Záchranná a dopravná zdravotnícka služba Bratislava and Záchranná služba Košice. Conversely, the licenses lost hospitals in Trstená, Čadca, Bojnice, Spišská Nová Ves, Myjava, Partizánske, Námestovo and Poprad. Regional Hospitals wish to appeal against the results of the first round of the tender for EMTs.
The Ministry of Health published the results of a public procurement for licenses to operate 76 ambulances land emergency medical services. As can be seen from the results, most of the licenses reallocated among themselves LSE-Life Star Emergency, Falck Záchranná, Záchranná a dopravná zdravotnícka služba Bratislava and Záchranná služba Košice. Licenses should be valid for six years instead of the currently four. According to amended law on health care providers, with the application for permission providers has obligation to submit also the proof of human resources of emergency vehicles and project of strategy and development of emergency services. Slovakia currently operates 273 outpatient land emergency medical services and seven airs.
From next year will enter into force a new Decree of Ministry of Health on minimum staff, material and technical equipment of health facilities. According to it, in the service will no longer need to be three nurses, but only two, and one can be replaced by a paramedic - rescuer. This change is denied by Slovak Chamber of Nurses and Midwives. Ministry of Health believes that paramedics are as trained as nurses to provide medical care. The chamber is concerned about it and asks, how can be three nurses replaced by two people without reducing staffing norm. However, Ministry argues that these workplaces can have more employees.
Minister of Health perceives the extension of validity of licences for ambulances rather as a technical adjustment, which should have resulted from the technical requirements of the providers. Amendment to the act on healthcare providers should besides longer licences bring also the changes in the way of the selection procedure of the providers of ambulances, where the new requirements are being added. This way, according to Zvolenská, the Ministry responds to the finding of the court, where the previous system of distribution of licences, made by former Minister Richard Raši, has ended. The reason for this should have been the requirements in the frame of selection proceeding beyond the law.
Permits for ambulances should be valid for longer time, as the Ministry of Health proposed the prolongation of validity of permits for operation of emergency medical service ambulance from 4 to 6 years. Proposal of the amendment to the act on healthcare providers approved by the Government also brings the obligation for submitting, together with the application for issuing of permit, of the document on personal ensuring for providing of ambulance and the project of the strategy and development of emergency medical service.
Shortening of the operation of outpatient emergency services would allegedly decrease the availability and quality of providing of general outpatient health care. On the contrary it would increase the costs of health insurance companies on continuous ensuring of health care. This is the conclusion of the October workshop of the Association of Medical First Aid Providers. Association claims that people would this way lose the current certainty by health protection, which is set by the law.