Japan Data

Japan’s Ambulance Dispatch Numbers Continue to Rise


The aging of Japanese society is fueling a climb in ambulance dispatches.

The number of ambulance calls rose for the eighth consecutive year in 2017, up 2% from the previous year to a record 6.3 million dispatches, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. This was over 1 million more ambulance dispatches than 2007. There were 17,000 cases per day. The ever-growing number of calls for the elderly fueled the soaring total. With no sign of Japan’s aging society reversing course, the need for emergency services is expected to grow, potentially necessitating screening measures according to the level of emergency.

A total of 5.7 million people were transported by ambulance, but patients in dire need of medical care accounted for only 8.4%. Nearly half of all persons carried were determined by doctors upon arrival to have minor illnesses or injuries not requiring hospitalization. Approximately two thirds of all those transported (3.8 million people) were 65 or older.

A 2017 survey conducted by the Cabinet Office concerning emergency services found that 67.6% of respondents were in favor of plans for persons with minor injuries or illnesses to be required to make their own way to hospitals. Some respondents said that people who used ambulances for minor problems should be charged dispatch fees.

 (Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Jiji)

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