Washington DC's government is considering employing taxis and Uber vehicles to handle non-emergency calls to its 911 hotline in order to reduce the workload on its ambulance and fire crews.
Gregory Dean, chief of the city's fire and emergency medical services, told the local NBC affiliate: "We are working with the health department to find other ways to transport people, such as using a contract taxi cab or Uber. We are trying to find creative ways to try to reduce the strain on the system."
The city is considering a plan to deploy some nurses to its 911 call centre.
There, they will determine which cases require an ambulance and admittance to a hospital emergency room. In non-urgent cases, taxis and Uber vehicles could be deployed instead to bring the patient to a doctor's office.
Last year there were 160,000 dispatches due to medical 911 calls in DC. A study has shown that many of these calls didn't involve emergency situations.
The task force that's currently investigating ways to reduce the burden on city's fire and emergency services isn't due to deliver its recommendations until October 2017.
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