Ambulance Workers Driven to the Limit Skip to content

Ambulance Workers Driven to the Limit

The head of the National Association of Firefighters and Ambulance Workers calls the state of ambulance services in South Iceland unacceptable. The number of ambulance transports in the area has increased close to 50 percent in five years, while the number of ambulance workers has lagged behind. The workload, he states, is much too heavy.

Stefán Pétursson, who heads the association, reports that the workload on ambulance workers all over the country has increased considerably in a few years: “Between 2011 and 2015, the total number of ambulance transports in South Iceland has increased by 46 percent, and the number of emergency calls has gone up by 89 percent; transports between institutions are up 52 percent, and what accompanies those is the distance driven in ambulances, which has increased by 89 percent. Those numbers, of course, are gigantic,” Stefán told RÚV.

In Stefán’s opinion, the explanation is in large part the large increase in the number of foreign tourists. Most of them travel in South Iceland, for example the Golden Circle. Last year, one out of every seven ambulance transports involved foreign tourists, according to Stefán.

Authorities have been asked to increase funding for ambulance transport, Stefán stated, and added, “The annual contributions for the operation are by no means consistent with this fast increase which has occurred, and maybe it’s also due to cuts and streamlining.” He lamented, “There is so much overtime. We’re about to give up. The situation is unacceptable.”

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