Disparities between Rural and Urban Areas of the Central Region of Saudi Arabia in the Utilization and Time-Centeredness of Emergency Medical Services

Hassan N. Moafa*, Sander Martijn Job van Kuijk, Dhafer M. Alqahtani, Mohammed E. Moukhyer, Harm R. Haak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The purpose of this study was to explore differences in characteristics of missions dispatched by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) between rural and urban areas of Riyadh province in Saudi Arabia (SA). It also aimed at identifying weaknesses related to utilization and Response Time (RT). The study retrospectively evaluated 146,639 completed missions in 2018 by measuring the utilization rate in rural and urban areas. The study shows there are six times more ambulance crews available for rural areas compared to urban. There were 22.1 missions per 1000 urban inhabitants and 11.2 missions per 1000 in rural areas. The median RT for high urgent trauma cases was 20.2 min in rural compared to 15.2 min in urban areas (p <0.001). In urban areas, the median RT for high urgent medical cases was 16.1 min, while it was 15.2 min for high urgent trauma cases. Around 62.3% of emergency cases in urban and 56.5% in rural areas were responded to within 20.00 min. Women utilized EMS less frequently. The RT was increased in urban areas compared to previous studies. The RT in the central region of SA has been identified as equal, or less than 20.00 min in 62.4% of all emergency cases. To further improve adherence to the 20 ' target, reorganizing the lowest urgent cases in the rural areas seems necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7944
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • emergency medical services
  • utilization
  • response time
  • rural
  • urban

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