Japan Data

Japan’s Medical Services Under Pressure: Ambulances Struggle to Find Hospitals to Accept Patients

Society Health Lifestyle

Japan’s medical services are under increasing pressure in the fifth wave of COVID-19, and the country is recording a growing number of cases where ambulance crews struggle to find hospitals to accept patients.

Statistics from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications show that there were 3,207 cases where ambulance crews had difficulty finding hospitals to accept patients in the week of August 16–22. Around half of these, or 1,617, were cases of suspected COVID-19.

While the drop of 155 from the 3,362 cases for August 9–15 was the first decrease for seven weeks, the total was the third highest to date. With no end in sight to the fifth wave of COVID-19, and medical systems under pressure, struggles to find hospitals where patients can be admitted are set to continue.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency, attached to the MIC, defines cases of “hospital admission difficulty” as those where four or more institutions are contacted, and ambulances have to wait more than 30 minutes after arriving to pick up patients in distress before transporting them to hospitals able to accept them. It surveys firefighting headquarters in 52 locations across the country, such as designated cities and prefectural capitals.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

ambulance health coronavirus COVID-19