Not UAZ, but a modern car with new equipment - these are working conditions emergency paramedics may enjoy in the foreseeable future. The Healthcare Ministry of Ukraine has purchased recently 1309 new ambulances - the most large-scale purchase for the whole 22 years of independence. The Ministry says that with these new vehicles the supply of ambulances, being in service for less than five years, will double.

Excluding the latest purchase, the vehicle fleet of healthcare institutions numbers 3789 ambulances, and only 1297 of them have been in operation for less than five years. 1550 ambulances have been in service for over five years, and 942 vehicles - for over ten years.

Towards standards

According to the latest data of the State Statistics Service, the population of Ukraine is 45.5 million people. Thus, according to the approved standard of provision with ambulance transport (one ambulance per 10 thousand people), Ukraine's healthcare system must have 4600 ambulances. Though the perfect rate is a long way off, a certain progress has already been made. This year the government has allocated 922 million hryvnias for the purchase of 1309 ambulances. In particular, the Healthcare Ministry has purchased 206 Class A (line therapy) ambulances, 1.063 Class B (intensive care) ambulances, and 143 Class C (reanimobile) ambulances.

According to the data of the Ministry, Class A (line therapy) ambulances cost the state 475 thousand hryvnias each, 150 Class B ambulances cost 649 thousand hryvnias each and the rest (913 vehicles) of the same class - UAH 649.5 thousand. Reanimobiles of Class C have been purchased at the price of 844 thousand hryvnias per vehicle.

Head of the government procurement department of the Healthcare Ministry of Ukraine Galyna Dovganchyn notes that following the results of the tender, the Ministry has managed to save eight million hryvnias, which will be spend for purchase of 11 more ambulances of various classes. 

In general, the Ministry expects that by the yearend the ambulance fleet of healthcare institutions will be replenished with 1423 new vehicles. "The provision of regions with ambulances, being in operation for less than five years, now makes 29%, but with this purchase the rate will double and will make 60%," director of the Healthcare Ministry department on reforms and development of medical assistance Mykola Khobzey says.

According to him, there are plans to make similar purchase next year. It is hard to tell how much money the state budget for 2014 will provide for these purposes, but if the means are sufficient Ukraine will come close to the standard of provision with medical transport. And this factor is of no little interest, considering the innovations on ambulance arrival time standards (within 10 minutes in a city, and within 20 minutes in rural areas).

"Replenishing the ambulance fleet we will finally meet the social standard on provision with medical transport, which in turn will stimulate the development of infrastructure upgrade in the regions, including better roads, street lights and house number plates," Khobzey adds. 

Signed, sealed and delivered

Purchased medical vehicles will be distributed among regions in accordance with bids received from regional state administrations and taking into account the population of every specific region and its provision with ambulances, being in operation for less than five years. Thus, Donetsk region will get 128 ambulances, Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk regions will get 79 vehicles each, Kharkiv region - 88, Sumy and Chernovitska regions - 32 each, Volyn region - 30 vehicles and Zakarpatska region - 28 ambulances. 91 medical vehicles will stay in the capital.

According to Galyna Dovganchyn, the first delivery of equipment will be carried out in December, but first the state Ukrainian union "Politechmed" will conduct a due diligence. Moreover, the Healthcare Ministry says that emergency teams will undergo a training to learn how to use the new equipment properly.

Tetyana Matsur


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