Emergency services

Typically, an ambulance will transport the patient to the nearest hospital with a specialist emergency care service, as determined by the 112 emergency call centre.

The nearest hospital is calculated in line with the journey time and not in line with the number of kilometres: e.g. the distance from Egenhoven via N264 to UZ Leuven campus Gasthuisberg is 5km, but the journey time is 9 minutes. The distance from Egenhoven to Heilig Hart Regional Hospital is 4.2km, but the journey time is 10 minutes. In this case, then, the patient will be taken to UZ Leuven campus Gasthuisberg even though the Heilig Hart Regional Hospital is closer, because the journey time is shorter. When a MUG/SMUR intervenes, it is also possible to deviate from the fastest journey time based on diagnosis or need for a therapeutic platform.

 

In Belgium, we have two types of emergency services:

  • A service for specialist emergency care: this service must be permanently staffed by an emergency doctor and a minimum of 2 nurses, at least one of whom must have obtained the special professional title in intensive care and emergency care. This service must be able to stabilise and restore a patient’s vital signs.
  • An emergency first responder service: each critical hospital that does not have a specialist emergency care service must have an emergency first responder service. One nurse and one doctor on duty for the entire hospital are sufficient.

On 01/01/2021, there were 126 emergency departments in Belgium, spread across several hospital campuses[1]. Of these, 3 campuses in the Flemish Region and 1 in the Brussels-Capital Region only have an emergency first responder service. The others are specialist emergency care services. 

 NUMBER OF EMERGENCY SERVICES PER REGION (01/01/2021)

 

To find out more about the criteria that a specialist emergency care service or an emergency first responder service must meet.

  [1]Source: CIC, Data & Policy Information Service, FPS HFCSE