About the National Ambulance Service

Antecedent and founding

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) is the largest medical and ambulance institution of Hungary which have carried out rescue and patient transport duties since nearly seventy years. The history of the Hungarian organized ambulance system dates back to the last third of the 19th century in our country. The predecessors of NAS were the Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Association, founded in 1887, and the Counties and Cities Ambulance Association, founded in 1926, which was operated a nation-wide ambulance station network. Founded with infrastructural background and knowledge gathered through generations, the new country wide competent institution, NAS is the guarantee of the history and developing of rescuing of the past 129 years. One of the most telling example is that in the year of the nationalization of rescue, in 1948, the Counties and Cities Ambulance Association provided the infrastructure and the personnel for the new organization, also the Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Association ensured the medical professional background.

Our ambulance service developed further in the way of more centralized structure, has been built up a kind of hierarchical form. Accordingly, its operation is incomparable. For today, the National Ambulance Service has tripled the number of its ambulance stations, twenty-fold manpower and the number of cars has increased six-fold.

Institutional structure

In order to ensure more efficient operation, the National Ambulance Service established the county rescue organizations in county seats around the mid-sixties managed by the local chief medical officers. The director and professional administrative departments decided technical and organizational matters. Their decisions were binding on all county rescue organizations, and arrive in the form of circulars. Counties had competence in other local cases. In 2005, this structure has changed when the NAS formed the regional ambulance organizations, which have taken over the role of the county rescue organizations. Seven region founded: Middle Hungary (Regional Ambulance Organization - RAO) headquartered in Budapest; Central Trans¬dan¬u¬bia RAO headquartered in Veszprém; Western Transdanubia RAO headquartered in Szombathely; Southern Transdanubia RAO headquartered in Pécs; Southern Great Plain RAO headquartered in Szeged; Northern Great Plain RAO headquartered in Debrecen; Northern Hungary RAO headquartered in Miskolc. Officers, paramedics and local chief medical officers perform their duties in accordance with the former governing mechanism.

Ambulance station network

In the year of the founding National Ambulance Service, the Hungarian ambulance station network consisted of 76 stations. During the next twenty years and also the 1980s, the development was ongoing. Nowadays, the NAS has 253 ambulance stations. The deployed of concept was to ensure the scene within 15 minutes of arrival after alerting, which is the EU Directives about rescue. We distinguish three categories of ambulance stations (A, B, C,) by the number and types of ambulance vehicles. The rescue controlling is an integral part of ambulance work, then the NAS manages the whole vehicles fleet along unified professional principles from 19 rescue controlling call centers throughout with a nation-wide coverage of telecommunications apparatus. The ambulance units take 38 million kilometres roads in Hungary per year. 7500 employees work in the National Ambulance Service, who perform more than one million task a year.

Education, science

The National Ambulance Service has defining role in education and scientific life. From the middle of 1950s to the mid-seventies, the NAS has launched training courses which itself trained the paramedics, semi physicians and ambulance men. According to the 1975 Health Ministerial provision, the tuition has been continued within the framework of higher education. In recent years, inquiring young people have the opportunity to participate in graduate training of paramedic in Pécs, Nyíregyháza and Szombathely university centres. The ambulance man in NAS is also linked to qualifications which was previously could obtainable in only non-formal educations system of NAS. In 1979, the Ministry of Health has recognized the new discipline of oxyology, which became self-exam course. From 1983, the teaching of this discipline integrated with the medical universities graduate basic training.

The Hungarian organized ambulance system based on the Franco-German model, which is meaning the medical and ambulance officer’s presence on scene. It has far-reaching historical roots. More than five decades of medical training of Budapest Volunteer Ambulance Association, also the launching of the special ambulance car with doctor unit in 1954, and the dedicated medical team of the former Ambulance Hospital provided the dynamic progress of the ambulance work.

The scientific journal of the National Ambulance Service is Magyar Mentésügy, which expend by the Hungarian Oxiology Company’s labels. Another journal published by NAS is the Mentők Lapja, which is about notable events and the daily life of the ambulance service.

Vehicles fleet

The development of the NAS’s vehicle fleet closely correlated with the development of ambulance station network. The Hungarian ambulance system in 1948 had 140 ambulance cars, nowadays it has 1000 vehicles. Complying with the national rescue and emergency patient transport obligation, 753 vehicles from the entire fleet operate twenty-four hours a day. The vehicle fleet has its own service background. It operates a rescue unit for special purposes as well. The main types of rescue units are the paramedic/doctor units and the patients transporting teams. The special ones are the adult and pediatric medical passenger cars, the paramedic passenger cars, Mobile Pediatric Intensive Care Ambulance Unit, ambulance motorcycles and scooters, mass accident units and Mobile Intensive Care Units for transporting and observing serious injured patients. This rescue teams care about patients according to their levels of competence with unified principles and nationally integrated health and technical equipment.

In 1958, the National Ambulance Service founded the air ambulance and emergency patient transporting in air. When the first rescue airplanes began to fly in Hungary, then works in secondary form of transport. From 1980, NAS activated the rescue helicopters. Nowadays, the Hungarian Air Ambulance Nonprofit Ltd., as a part of the NAS, operate seven airbases in Hungary (Miskolc, Budaörs, Pécs, Balatonfüred, Sármellék, Debrecen, Szentes) with AS-350B and EC-135 T2 CPDS rescue helicopters.

10 August 2016

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