EMERGENCY MEDICAL AND AMBULANCE SERVICES IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Dial 999 or 998 to Call an Ambulance in United Arab Emirates

AT-A-GLANCE

DIAL 999 or 998 TO CALL AN AMBULANCE IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

  • Emergency medical services in UAE are typically operated through the Police or public-private partnerships, with larger hospitals running their own ambulance services focused on inter-facility transfers
  • In major cities, patients may be transported to facilities with specialized care and dedicated emergency physicians
  • In rural areas, patients are often transported to the nearest facility

Return to Global EMS Database home page

SCOREBOARD

% of Seriously Injured Transported by Ambulance

>75%

[Source: 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

Road Traffic Injury Deaths
(per 100,000 population)

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Lebanon
  • United States

[Source: 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

Reported Homicides
(per 100,000 population)

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Lebanon
  • United States

[Source: 2014 Global Status Report on Violence Prevention, WHO-UNDP]

HOW CAN I CALL AN AMBULANCE IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES?

HOW DO I CALL FOR HELP?
  • Dial 998 for an ambulance in Abu Dhabi
  • ŸDial 999 for Police
  • Dial 997 for Civil Defense/Fire Department
CAN I CALL FOR HELP ANYWHERE?

No.  There is no uniform EMS communications/dispatch system for Abu Dhabi and accessing emergency care in other emirates is similarly fragmented owing to a range of prehospital providers, including police, hospitals and private EMS companies.

Typically, individual agencies rely on their own systems, often accessed by telephoning directly to headquarters. There are no designated emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs); calls may be answered by personnel with no to little medical training

In some hospitals, the MOH maintains a public service access point (PSAP) in the emergency department, staffed by on-duty ambulance personnel. There are few street addresses in Abu Dhabi, and no automatic number or location identifiers, making dispatch more difficult. Personnel often rely on landmarks, family/friends/bystanders and patients to find patient locations.

WHAT OTHER EMERGENCY NUMBERS CAN I CALL?

Other than the Police (999) and Civil Defense/Fire Department (997), there are private ambulance providers in UAE to provide private transport between facilities, both internationally and domestically.

Ground Ambulance in United Arab Emirates

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai
  • Sharjah
  • Ajman
  • Ras Al Kaimah
  • Fujairah
  • Umm Al Quwain

Air Ambulance in United Arab Emirates

WHAT ABOUT IN DISASTERS?

The National Crisis and Emergency Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) is tasked with “coordinating communication both at the national and local level”, though persons needing an ambulance in United Arab Emirates during a disaster should still call 999 or 998.

ARE THE RESPONDERS TRAINED?

Some are, others aren’t as much.”The quality of prehospital care varies considerably among the emirates for several reasons, the most significant of which are differences in EMS authorities, resulting in a lack of coordination and synergy. Another factor is the limited availability of EMS-trained professionals in the country.”  (Saleh 2014)

HOW WILL I GET TRANSPORTED?

Ground Ambulance in United Arab Emirates

Depending on where you are, it seems likely that you will be transported in a new ambulance, possibly with some token advanced equipment. Many privately-held emergency medical providers commonly use terms like “the latest in vehicle and medical technology”, “state-of-the-art” and “high-tech”, and then go on to describe equipment and resources that would be considered standard or of minimal utility in a developed EMS system. Nonetheless, the vehicles are typically Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with good gurneys, ensuring, oftentimes and at the least, a comfortable ride. Other vehicles used for emergency response also include motorcycles and “fly-cars” which are able to arrive on-scene early and provide stabilization while a transport vehicles is en route.

 

Air Ambulance in United Arab Emirates

A range of helicopter and fixed-wing air ambulances are also available in UAE, typically managed and operated by police departments, hospitals and private ambulance companies.

  • The Abu Dhabi National Police runs the Air Medical Wing which operates throughout UAE, providing inter-facility transfers, scene response, technical rescue, extrication and dive rescue, though historically have had minimal call volume: “Only in recent years has it expanded beyond VIP transport” (Sasser 2004)
  • The hospital and privately-run air ambulance services are almost universally staffed by Western flight paramedics and nurses, and are largely focused on inter-facility transfers and international medical evacuation / patient repatriation
  • The Civil Defense also has helicopters which they use primarily for technical Rescue with limited protocols for heavy, medium, and light technical, high-angle, swift water, and confined space rescue
WHERE WILL I BE TRANSPORTED TO?

In total, there are over 120 hospitals in UAE, including both public and private, with 40 hospitals each in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Depending on where you are (and what you request) you may be transported to a large hospital with an emergency department staffed by a Western emergency physician, or a rural hospital with local physicians. You may be taken to a primary health center, which is similar to an urgent care clinic in the U.S., or to a busy emergency department. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, there are regional trauma centers, with plans reported to extend the trauma center to the entire nation over the next decade.

[Emergency Departments] in the UAE are staffed mostly with expatriate physicians trained in medicine or surgery. The larger EDs also have residents, house officers/interns, and medical students. It is estimated that there are 1,000 physicians working in EDs in the UAE. About 50 of them are emergency medicine physicians with western qualifications or board certification; as can be expected, these specialists are based in the larger, well-established EDs and trauma centers in the UAE. ED nurses and technicians are also mostly expatriates, the majority being from the Philippines or India. English is spoken in the workplace.” (Fares 2014)

HOW WILL I PAY?

The large public hospitals in the UAE provide services free of charge for all conditions except minor emergen- cies. However, this largesse could change in the future if national insurance becomes mandated for all. Private hospitals require upfront payment.” (Fares 2014)

It has been reported by multiple sources that persons visiting emergency departments with non-urgent conditions will be charged full price.

ADDITIONAL INFO

COMMON MEDICAL EMERGENCIES AND VACCINATIONS

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), different groups of travelers will require different vaccinations for travel in the United Arab Emirates:

  • All Travelers:
    • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
    • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine
    • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
    • Polio vaccine
    • Your yearly flu shot
  • Most Travelers:
    • Hepatitis A
    • Typhoid
  • Some Travelers:
    • Hepatitis B
    • Rabies

Read more about travel in the United Arab Emirates at the CDC website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/united-arab-emirates (Last accessed: Aug. 7, 2017)

HISTORY
GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT

The UAE Ministry of Health provides majority of oversight for government-related health care services, though there may be more than one governmental body responsible for provision of health care in individual emirates, including the Ministry of the Interior.

REFERENCES
  • Batt AM et al: “A profile of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Northern Emirates, United Arab Emirates.” Saudi Med J. 2016;37(11):1206-1213.
  • Callachan EL et al: “Physician perceptions and recommendations about pre-hospital emergency medical services for patients with ST-elevation acute myocardial infarction in Abu Dhabi.J Saudi Heart Assoc. 2016;28(1):7-14.
  • Fares S et al: “Emergency medicine in the United Arab Emirates.” International Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2014;7(1):4.
  • Sasser S, Gibbs M, Blackwell T: “Prehospital Emergency Care in Abu Dhabil, United Arab Emirates.” Prehospital Emergency Care 2004;8:51-57.

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NATIONAL CRISIS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY

NATIONAL AMBULANCE UAE

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Comments
  • Dr Surjya Kmal

    Are medics supposed to enter confined spaces for rescue. OR rescue team will extricate injured person and then medics take over ?

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