Wrong ambulances being dispatched
Problems have emerged in connection with the new computer system used to dispatch ambulances.
The Astrid system is not always choosing to dispatch a vehicle from the closest ambulance station or hospital.
The dailies Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard report countless complaints are being made by ambulance staff who say that they are being told to drive for kilometres when an alternative ambulance service is available from a closer station.
Dirk Wynsberghe of the Sint-Lucas Hospital in Bruges: "We have lost a third of our calls. The system shows that the whole area around our hospital is a 20 km/h zone. It thinks that all vehicles in this area stick to this speed that is no faster than a cyclist."
As a result the system is often dispatching the wrong ambulance and valuable time is lost.
Other hospitals and ambulance stations are experiencing similar problems, especially in West and East Flanders. The West Flemish governor is asking the Belgian Interior Minister to sort out the matter immediately.
In Flemish Brabant Province there are fewer complaints, while in Antwerp the authorities are awaiting a resolution of the problems before Astrid is introduced.
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]