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City unveils new satellite first-aid facilities
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-09 06:05

GUANGZHOU: The South China city is installing ambulances with satellite navigation technology and setting up a new state-of-the-art first-aid centre in a bid to improve medical facilities and response times.

Lu Yande, deputy director of Guangzhou Health Bureau, said that the city's existing main first-aid complex already had its computer system and Intranet facilities upgraded, along with smaller stations across the city.

The main centre has also begun to install the city's ambulances with the global position system (GPS), to give warning to ambulances in case of traffic jams or other unexpected incidents on the road.

Extra ambulances have been purchased to increase the city's fleet.

The upgrade of the computer and Intranet system, and the installation of GPS, will cost about 2 million yuan (US$246,600).

Lu said that the measures are expected to make big improvements to existing first-aid operations in the city.

Guangzhou set up its first-aid centre and first-aid medical treatment network by integrating stations into 25 hospitals in the city in 1989.

The first-aid call centre "120" was launched in the same year.

The city's first-aid system now has 40 stations, 136 ambulances, one air relief site, one sea relief complex and a first-aid pioneer team. And the city's first-aid call centre has 28 staff members, which could now be increased to 50.

"It is highly necessary to make improvements to the city's existing out-of-date first-aid infrastructure to be able to respond immediately to first-aid reports and unexpected accidents," he said.

He said that the new system would make it possible for the first-aid centre, call centre, all the first-aid stations and ambulances to be online for instant information.

It receives about 3,500 calls on average each day.

He said that the municipal government of Guangzhou is planning to set up a new high-standard first-aid centre soon, which is expected to cover an area of 5,000 square metres and be open by 2010 when the city hosts the Asian Games.

The project will be launched as soon as a location is fixed and will take about two years to complete.

He said that the city will also increase the number of first-aid stations in suburban areas and along trunk roads, where emergency treatment is not so easily available.

"We aim to realize a first-aid radius of 4 kilometres in urban areas and 8 to 10 kilometres in suburban areas; we will attempt to make it possible for the ambulance to reach the first-aid site within 10 minutes in the urban areas and less than 15 minutes in suburban areas in one or two years," he said.

(China Daily 12/09/2005 page3)

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