Access to emergency services is essential for the health and well-being of people. The World Health Organization (WHO) made it a human right for everybody to have access to emergency care and it is an ethical obligation for governments to provide this service for the whole population. In recent years, the overcrowding in emergency departments has become a prominent issue that needs proper solutions. There have been several attempts resolving this ongoing issue. One of those is the patients’ distribution according to the severity level of their chief complaint, since more than half of the urgent cases are of low acuity and can be managed in less equipped facilities. Primary healthcare centers are perfectly suited to look after a significant proportion of cases for many reasons such as their scope of service, their wider geographical distribution, and are a more cost-effective resource for such cases than the use of higher acuity facilities. In Qatar, we have been implementing such model of patient distribution to release the burden on emergency departments since 1999. In this chapter we are proposing a full protocol to distribute emergency patients involving the ambulance service, primary healthcare centers, and emergency departments. Cooperation of all these services with the help of higher authorities and media is expected to show great improvements in patient care and better crowd control in emergency departments.
Part of the book: Healthcare Access