Mobile medical response unit provides coordinated on-site emergency and disaster healthcare

The Hospital Center of the Basque Coast has developed the mobile unit within the framework of the innovation action of the EGALURG European cooperation network

The Hospital Center of the Basque Coast and the SAMU of Bayonne, one of the partner organizations of the EGALURG European cooperation network, has developed the U2MR, an original and innovative mobile unit for coordinated medical response that will provide healthcare coordination at major events, emergencies and disasters by moving the resource management center to the site of the incident. The aim is to ensure hospital coordination centers are not overwhelmed with patients and to reduce communication gaps between organizations and healthcare personnel to a minimum. The mobile unit was built within the framework of EGALURG Action 6 on innovation and development.

The U2MR will become the communication center for medical management of the disaster and the direct connection point between the advanced medical station and the healthcare services at the site, such as firefighters and healthcare personnel in charge of helping and evacuating victims. The mobile unit will also be responsible for sending real-time information on incident developments to the medical coordination center in the area. It is expected to be set up near medical stations such as the Europe Occitanie Multipurpose Mobile Unit (UMPEO) designed by the Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT), the EGALURG Project leader, and funded by the project.

The 16.8 m2 unit is 3 m high and consists of a module that can be towed by a passenger car. Emergency Medical Services IT equipment has been integrated into the unit, which will be used mainly for disaster medicine. It will have direct Internet and satellite connections to ensure optimum management of each incident. Touch screens will also be installed to facilitate data sharing among team members and radios will be used to distribute information to the medical personnel throughout the site with the aim of guaranteeing permanent connection and coordination. The module also contains a separate meeting room, an outdoor area shaded with an awning and a computer monitor to display information.

The U2MR is expected to be operative in September and may be used by partner organizations on both sides of the Pyrenees for real disasters and simulations. The mobile unit will be based in Bayonne and managed by SAMU 64, located at the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast.

Nicolas Harcaut, a member of SAMU 64 and EGALURG, was happy with the result. He said, “We’re proud to see this project come to fruition and we want to thank everyone involved for their hard work. The unit is a major step forward in terms of improving and optimizing patient healthcare and the way medical personnel work in crisis situations. Every minute that goes by is vital in an emergency and this tool will help us reduce action times to a minimum and ensure more effective communication and coordination.” Harcaut said that the satellite connection would be available in August to make the unit completely operative. “That means the mobile unit will be ready to handle disasters,” he said.

Visit to Cegelec facility

On 4 June, a team from the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast and the Hospital Center of Toulouse visited the facilities of Toulouse company Cegelec (the builder of the U2MR) for the first technical inspection of the unit. The two partner organizations were able to take a look at the mobile unit for the first time and make final arrangements for delivery. The SAMU team thanked the heads of the engineering firm on behalf of both hospitals for their fine work and professional performance, and for helping provide a response to the needs of emergency medicine in France and, through EGALURG-POCTEFA, in the Pyrenees.

Also working on the project are professionals from the Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Center and the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia, which are partners of the EGALURG European cooperation network. The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA Program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

More than 80 people attend webinar on emergency and disaster medicine organized by EGALURG cross-border cooperation network

The project leaders presented the key points of this innovative initiative and the benefits for healthcare systems in the regions on both sides of the Pyrenees.

The webinar “Challenges for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in the Pyrenees,” organized by the EGALURG cross-border cooperation network and held on Tuesday, June 29, was attended by more than 80 people. The leaders of the initiative described the action taken to improve healthcare in the regions on both sides of the Pyrenees and presented innovative tools that improve conditions for patients and healthcare personnel, such as the Europe Occitanie Multipurpose Mobile Unit (UMPEO), which is being used in the fight against COVID-19.

Vanessa Houzé-Cerfon, the Director of the EGALURG network and a research coordinator in Emergency Medical Services at the Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT, leader of the initiative), was the first speaker. She described the project and said, “Our main goal is to create an operational cooperation network in emergency and disaster medicine to favor equal access to healthcare in all regions.” She went on to describe the benefits of the UMPEO developed by the CHUT and highlighted how quickly it can be deployed in crisis situations. She also presented the UMPEO’s accessory drone and satellite network, which are used to optimize care for patients in isolated locations.

The second speaker was Tomás Belzunegui Otano, the Scientific Director of the EGALURG Project at Navarrabiomed and Associate Dean of the Degree in Medicine at the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA). He presented the map prepared by the UPNA research group of the healthcare resources in the region. He also described the database that will contain all the information on patients treated for multiple injuries. “We are developing a common database to be able to extract technical information and learn about good practices that can increase our patients’ survival rate,” he said. He also gave a very positive assessment of the experience with the UMPEO in Navarre. It was used to administer COVID-19 vaccines to a total of 750 people living in rural areas in the region.

Jorge Morales, the Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia (SEM), stressed the importance of creating joint action protocols in times of healthcare crisis. He said, “One of the biggest problems facing emergency services in cross-border areas is that major disasters with many victims can happen here and we all have to cooperate during these situations. Protocols must be simple and uniform.” SEM is also engaged in another task: creating a master’s degree program on emergency and disaster medicine that will be offered in 2022 by Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse and the Universitat de Barcelona.

The final speaker was Nicolas Harcaut, a member of Emergency Medical Services at the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast in Bayonne. He began by describing his group’s experience with the UMPEO, which was used to provide support to the hospital’s emergency services in November and December 2020, when they were overwhelmed by the pandemic. A total of 266 patients were treated at the unit, 80% of whom had been referred from trauma care in order to make more hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients.

In the last few months, the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast has been working intensely on developing the Mobile Unit for Coordinated Medical Response (U2MR), an innovative resource that provides on-site medical coordination in crisis situations. It was recently presented at the facilities of Cegelec, the Toulouse company that built the U2MR. The Hospital Center of the Basque Coast is currently working on a study of healthcare services at major events with the aim of publishing European guides to good practice to be used in the organization of these events.

The webinar closing was given by Vanessa Houzé-Cerfon, who mentioned the activities scheduled for the coming months, such as the exhibition of the innovative tools built within the framework of the EGALURG network and the workshop on emergency medicine that will be held in October.

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014- 2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. It focuses its help on the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

Webinar sur des les défis des soins de santé en situations d’urgence dans la région des Pyrénées

Mardi, 29 juin, à 16 h, via Zoom (inscription préalable).

Le webinaire du réseau européen EGALURG qui se tiendra le 29 juin, mardi, à 16 h, via Zoom : Défis et enjeux des soins de santé en situations d’urgence et de catastrophe dans la région des Pyrénées, organisé par le réseau de coopération transfrontalier en médecine d’urgence EGALURG. Le consortium EGALURG se constitue de quatre organisations : le Centre Universitaire Hospitalier de Toulouse (Toulouse), le centre de recherche biomédicale Navarrabiomed (Pampelune – Iruña), le Sistema d’Emergències Mèdiques de Catalunya et le Centre Hospitalier de la Côte Basque.


Dans la session, avec une durée d’une heure, il s’abordera la nécessité de promouvoir la coopération en matière d’assistance médicale dans les situations de crise des deux côtés de la frontière, ainsi que l’importance d’harmoniser les protocoles d’action communs et ils seront presentés les outils innovants élaborés dans le cadre de cette initiative au profit des soins apportés aux patients de même que le travail accompli par le personnel de santé, par exemple, l’unité mobile polyvalente Europe Occitanie qui œuvre actuellement en faveur de la lutte contre le COVID-19.

L’évènement se tiendra en format de table rond virtuel dans laquelle ils vont participer les responsables du projet à chaque région. Vanessa Houzé-Cerfon, chef du projet EGALURG et coordinatrice de la recherche au SAMU 31 (CHU de Toulouse), Tomás Belzunegui, directeur scientifique d’EGALURG chez Navarrabiomed et Vice-Doyen aux études de Médecine à l’UPNA, Antoni Encinas, responsable du système d’urgence médicale de la Catalogne, et Nicolas Harcaut, professionnel du SAMU 64 (CH de la côte Basque).

Pour finir, les orateurs répondront les questions que les assistants pourront formuler par écrit aux conférenciers. Afin que les communications soient compréhensibles pour toutes les personnes qui se connectent, un service de traduction simultanée sera activé en français et en espagnol.

Toutes les personnes intéressées à assister doivent s‘inscrire au préalable. Plus d’informations sur l’événement.

Projet POCTEFA

Le projet EGALURG est un réseau européen de coopération transfrontalier pour améliorer les soins de santé dans les communautés isolées, les urgences et les catastrophes des deux côtés des Pyrénées. Il a été cofinancé à hauteur de 65 % par le Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER), dans le cadre du Programme Interreg V–A Espagne–France–Andorre (POCTEFA 2014–2020). L’objectif du POCTEFA est de renforcer l’intégration économique et sociale de la zone transfrontalière Espagne–France–Andorre. Son aide se concentre sur le développement d’activités économiques, sociales et environnementales transfrontalières à travers la mise en œuvre de stratégies conjointes promouvant le développement territorial durable.

PROGRAMME DU WEBINAIRE D’EGALURG.

UPNA (Navarre) research team develops map of cross-border healthcare resources for emergency decision-making

The initiative forms part of Action 3 of the EGALURG network’s work plan and focuses on creating and testing cross-border healthcare protocols individually and as a group.

The Quantitative Methods for Uplifting the Performance of Health Services (q-UPHS) research group at the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA) is developing a map of the healthcare resources in the cross-border area of the Pyrenees to facilitate logistics decision-making in emergency situations. This tool, developed within the framework of the EGALURG cooperation network through partner organization Navarrabiomed (Navarre), will be of great use when organizing medical equipment for major events.

The map currently contains the resources in Navarre and will be completed with the resources in the other cross-border regions during 2021. It is in the early stages of compiling and displaying the healthcare resources available for handling healthcare emergencies. The map shows the emergency resources in different layers: “Ambulancias_SVB” (Basic Life Support Ambulances), “Ambulancias_SVA” (Advanced Life Support Ambulances), “Hospitales”, “Servicios_Urgencias” (Emergency Services) and “PAC” (Continuous Care Centers). It also indicates the average travel time from each town to the nearest facility in the same region.

“When the resources of the other cross-border regions are added, we’ll be able to assess the benefits of sharing healthcare resources. The map will be used to perform technical and logistics checks on the preparation and readiness of the different resources in each region in order to provide full coverage by completing and correcting any deficiencies detected,” explained Marta Cildoz Esquíroz, a UPNA researcher and professor and a member of the EGALURG network through Navarrabiomed.

Fermín Mallor Giménez is a UPNA professor of Statistics and Operations Research who participated with the work group on the map’s design. He said, “It’s important to design the product with features that make it useful and easy to update, because the situation with healthcare resources is constantly changing.” This tool will be used mainly by healthcare decision-makers in emergency situations and when organizing events, though it may be helpful in other contexts. He continued, “It could be used by local authorities in rural areas to provide information on the healthcare resources available in the area.”

In medical emergency situations, every minute is vital. How fast healthcare equipment can reach the site of the emergency is particularly important. The application being developed by the researchers could lead to changes in the distribution of medical units. Mallor explained, “The people responsible for managing resources will know which regions are less prepared. If the response time in one place is 38 minutes and we want to establish a policy in which it must be less than 30, the map can provide an idea of where a new resource should be located.” The aim is to facilitate strategic and tactical decision-making on changes with long-lasting effects, “such as building an ambulance center in one place, acquiring new mobile units or ambulances, and expanding a work shift by including more professionals,” Mallor said.

To create the map, the research group accessed public databases. According to Martín Gastón Romeo, a university professor and researcher in the q-UPHS group, the map makes use of the information provided by partner members, as well as geographic data. “The Government of Navarre makes layers of accessible information available and we hope to find similar data in other cross-border regions that can be added to the map.” The group also uses the Open Street Map app for travel time and distance calculations. “We’re including all these data so they form part of the map and make it a very complete tool that can be used for sound decision-making,” said Gastón.

This activity forms part of the EGALURG network’s Action 3, which is led by the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) with the cooperation of the network’s other partner organizations: Toulouse University Hospital (Occitanie), Navarrabiomed and the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia. The goal of the European network is to promote equal access to emergency and disaster healthcare in isolated communities on both sides of the Pyrenees.

Simulation and prediction systems

The q-UPHS is a consolidated research group that works closely with the Navarre Health Service. Its mission is to respond to logistics-related problems of all kinds in healthcare. Besides its many projects, the group is providing basic support in the COVID-19 health crisis by drawing up simulation models for predicting the need for resources. “Since March 2020, we’ve been writing reports for the Government of Navarre on predictions of what is needed in terms of beds, hospitals and ICUs”, said Mallor. The group also monitors new cases in an attempt to anticipate new outbreaks of the virus. The research group recently collaborated with the Spanish Ministry of Health to predict the number of ICU beds required in each Spanish autonomous community.

Besides working on the pandemic, the group has created other useful projects to optimize healthcare operations, including systems for improving patient flows in emergencies and triage processes by providing efficient ways of prioritizing patients, assigning resources in each case and reducing waiting times.

The EGALURG Project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

SEM promotes creation of cross-border directory of medical equipment and specialized master’s degree in health crisis management

Both initiatives are being promoted within the framework of the EGALURG network and will be announced in all regions involved during the third quarter of 2021.

The entities that form the EGALURG European cross-border cooperation network are making progress in their efforts to improve medical care in emergency and disaster situations in the Pyrenees region, despite the heavy workload caused by COVID-19. The Medical Emergency System (SEM) will manage actions 4 and 5 of the project, which focus on the creation and testing of joint cross-border protocols and the development of a university master’s degree to promote specialized training in emergency and disaster healthcare management.

One of the main pillars of the EGALURG network is to promote cooperation between regions to ensure that borders do not represent an obstacle when it comes to providing medical care and that medical devices can be mobilized to support other cross-border territories. One of the current tasks of the SEM team involved in EGALURG is to collect and categorize information on each region’s health units. This will allow joint action protocols to be developed. All out-of-hospital medical resources in the regions involved will be transferred to a map, which will be created together with the other member entities. 

Antoni Encinas, head of the SEM, provides a direct example of the advantages of using common protocols to make information and resources available to all members: “For example, if a health disaster were to occur in Puigcerdà, we know that several SEM ambulances would be able to reach the location to assist those in need within 20 minutes, but we don’t know what resources they would have on the other side of the border that could help us treat the victims.”

To achieve this, simply knowing what resources are available to the regions is not enough; it is also important to overcome administrative and legal barriers and to promote joint work to ensure that medical devices are effectively deployed in crisis situations.

Cross-border training

At the same time, SEM professionals are combining their healthcare work with participation in the project through the creation of a cross-border master’s degree in health crisis management, which will be offered as of the 2022-23 academic year. This degree program has an innovative edge over other university studies, since it has been designed as a theoretical and practical master’s degree, divided into four modules based on specific crisis scenarios that will increase in complexity as the program progresses.

It should be noted that this program, which is based on the acquisition of skills, has also been designed to attract professionals in positions that require large-scale decision-making, such as company managers or directors and senior civil servants who carry out essential work during potential health disasters. “This master’s degree is not aimed exclusively at health personnel. Students won’t learn how to intubate patients or stop bleeding. The idea is to provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to take the most effective action in a range of crisis situations and to offer the best possible medical assistance,” explained SEM professional Dr. Jorge Morales. Likewise, the program will be offered in two formats: complete training or modular training. The latter will allow students to take modules separately, depending on their interests.

The cross-border master’s degree will be taught by both the Universitat de Barcelona and Université Paul Sabatier in Toulouse and will be offered in two formats: complete training or modular training, depending on the specific interests of the students.  The full degree will last two years and will be divided into four academic semesters. The teaching staff will be made up of specialist professionals in the field of crisis management.  The complete program for the master’s degree will be published in the first semester of 2022.

Four entities involved

The EGALURG consortium is made up of four entities: University Hospital Center of Toulouse (Toulouse), Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Center (Pamplona – Iruña), Hospital Center of the Basque Coast (Bayonne) and the SEM, a public body that operates throughout Catalonia to assist during prehospital emergencies. This latter entity is headquartered in Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) and has two additional offices in Reus and Barcelona.

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014- 2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. It focuses its help on the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

Mobile emergency unit returns to Toulouse after visiting Navarre to support COVID-19 vaccination campaign

In the coming months, it will travel to hard-to-reach areas in the Haute-Garonne region to administer coronavirus vaccines before moving on to Andorra.

The Europe Occitania Multipurpose Mobile Unit (UMPEO) is returning to the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT) after spending six weeks traveling around Navarre to support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. This cooperation project has taken place within the framework of the EGALURG European cross-border network, which made it possible to create this innovative facility.

Handover of the UMPEO took place yesterday (February 25) at the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast. Staff from Toulouse Emergency Medical Services, part of the CHUT, and a team from the Navarre Health Service and Navarrabiomed traveled to the partner organization in Bayonne, where they shared their impressions of the visit to Navarre and their use of the unit. During the meeting, where all of the current health protocols were observed, all of the professionals expressed their satisfaction and gratitude for this cooperation between regions.

Upon the unit’s return to the Occitania region, the CHUT will initially use it for the same purpose, i.e. to administer COVID-19 vaccines. The knowledge acquired by the professionals in Navarre during their time with the UMPEO will help the CHUT improve the mobile unit’s systems and optimize its use. The UMPEO is expected to move to Andorra in mid-April.

Tomás Belzunegui, Scientific Director of the EGALURG Project at Navarrabiomed, praised the way the unit had been used in Navarre and the cooperation that made it possible. He also expressed his gratitude on social media:

“It’s been a real pleasure to share our experiences with our colleagues from Emergency Medical Services in Bayonne and Toulouse. Eskerrik asko denengandik

More than 750 inoculations

The healthcare teams in Navarre, made up of nurses, medical emergency technicians from the Navarre Health Service (SNS-O), volunteer firefighters, and volunteers from the Red Cross and the DYA emergency assistance association, inoculated more than 750 people using the UMPEO, according to data from Aitor Erice, a medical emergency technician at the SNS-O, who was responsible for managing the unit.

In January and February, the UMPEO traveled to different municipalities within the region to administer vaccines outside of healthcare centers and to facilitate access for dependent people and others living in rural areas. The aim was to help prevent overcrowding and reduce the risk of infection.

The teams were also assisted by volunteers from Navarre-based healthcare organizations, who helped transport elderly and disabled people to the UMPEO. In total, the unit visited four different areas (Oronoz-Mugaire, Estella, Sangüesa and Peralta) on two separate occasions to administer both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The operation also required painstaking organization and logistics to administer the vaccines within the set periods. “We can’t waste a single dose, so we have to plan everything very carefully. If there’s any vaccine left over, which very rarely happens, we have a Plan B and even a Plan C for administering it,” Erice asserted.

In order to be able to use the UMPEO, a team from Navarre traveled to the CHUT to learn how to deploy and handle it:

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

EGALURG facilitates the construction and deployment of the UMPEO, an innovative installation for emergency healthcare in trans-pyrenaic regions

The Europe Occitania Multipurpose Mobile Unit (UMPEO) is an installation developed by the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT) and founded thanks to the EGALURG project within the framework of the Innovation, Research, and Technological Development action. This infrastructure offers multiple options for emergencies, as intensive healthcare boxes or vaccination cabins against COVID-19. Cegelec Défense built this mobile unit.

EGALURG is a European cooperation network to improve healthcare in isolated communities, emergencies, and disasters on both sides of the Pyrenees. The partners are CHUT, Navarrabiomed (Navarre), the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia, and the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast in Bayonne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine).

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

A mobile hospital providing emergency services will travel to several locations in Navarre in coming weeks to support COVID-19 vaccination procedures

Professionals from the Emergencies Section of the Navarre Health Service, along with volunteer firefighters and workers from the University Hospital Center of Toulouse and Navarrabiomed participated today in the installation of the mobile emergency unit at the Refena Conference Center within the framework of the European EGALURG network.

The Europe Occitania Multipurpose Mobile Unit (UMPEO), built by the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT) within the framework of the EGALURG European cross-border cooperation network to improve emergency and disaster healthcare in the Pyrenees, was installed today at midday in the Refena Conference Center parking lot in Pamplona / Iruña.

As part of the strategy for vaccination, Navarre has welcomed the emergency healthcare unit with the aim of administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Primary care management professionals from the SNS-O and Navarrabiomed will coordinate the movements of the emergency unit as it travels to different towns in Navarre in January and February.

The unit will provide support for vaccination of dependent people, social health personnel, home care services and primary care professionals working in rural basic health zones. Specifically, the mobile unit will travel from Refena to different towns, including Altsasu / Alsasua-Etxarri, Irurtzun, Oronoz-Mugaire, Sangüesa / Zangoza, Carcastillo, Peralta / Azkoyen, Lodosa, Los Arcos, Estella / Lizarra. In each town, the mobile unit will act as a key vaccination center so that this procedure does not have to be given at healthcare centers, thus keeping them from becoming overcrowded. This is expected to reduce the risk of infection and speed up the vaccination process.

At the event, Diego Reyero Díez, Head of the Emergencies and Primary Care Transport Section, said that the emergency unit will provide optimal conditions for COVID-19 vaccination. He said, “The mobile emergency unit has separate areas for greater comfort and flexibility for vaccination.”

Kiko Betelu Corcuera, Assistant Director of Emergency Services and Technical Director of Vital Urgency Care in Navarre, pointed out that the mobile unit can also be used to raise awareness about vaccination and the importance of so-called herd immunity. “The increase in the vaccinated population will mark a turning point in the pandemic, so the faster that happens, the better,” said Betelu.

Innovative infrastructure in Europe

To make use of the UMPEO emergency unit, a team of professionals from the Emergencies Section of the Navarre Health Service and Navarrabiomed spent Monday and Tuesday (January 11-12) in Toulouse receiving technical training on installation deployment and handling from the CHUT, the EGALURG Project leader and also the institution responsible for building the mobile unit.

As explained by Anna Ribera Cano, an emergency services doctor from Toulouse Emergency Medical Services, another member of the EGALURG Project, “This mobile unit is unique in Europe because it can be deployed so quickly. It can be operative in 20 to 45 minutes.

 As a hospital care support facility, it can handle as many as 18 patients at a time”.

The facility is designed to admit patients in intensive care beds, eight absolute emergency beds and 10 relative emergency beds, in five fully equipped subunits. It takes up a maximum area of 66 m2 and is 12 meters long. Though the mobile unit was originally designed to be used in the cross-border area at major events and mass gatherings, and to provide response services in emergencies and disasters, its construction deadlines were tightened and its design was adapted in light of the current pandemic.

Also participating in the event was Tomás Belzunegui Otano, the Scientific Director of the EGALURG Project, who said, “Though the current pandemic has made implementing the EGALURG Project more difficult, the institutions involved have continued working together on all planned actions. Being able to bring the mobile hospital to Navarre highlights the direct advantages of cross-border regional cooperation.”

The mobile unit has also been used in remote regions of Haute-Garonne to perform massive PCR testing and was deployed in Bayonne, France, to provide support for emergency services at the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast (CHCB), which was overwhelmed by the pandemic. After being installed in Navarre, plans include enabling the UMPEO to be used in coming months by the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia (SEM) and the Aragon Health Service.

EGALURG cooperation network

The EGALURG consortium is headed by the CHUT, and its partners include Navarrabiomed, the CHCB and the SEM. The European network started operating in 2019 and will have a total duration of 30 months.

Its goals include harmonizing protocols for more effective use of healthcare resources. Developing innovative tools is one of the key parts of the project and is reflected in the mobile hospital, as well as a platform that will simulate emergency situations and help train healthcare personnel so they are prepared for these cases. Navarrabiomed is in charge of this platform.

The project is co-funded (65%) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

EGALURG uses innovative infrastructure and new training proposals to improve emergency healthcare in the Pyrenees

The third partnership meeting featured reports on these developments, including the mobile hospital used in the fight against COVID-19

The EGALURG cross-border cooperation network, which promotes improvements in emergency and disaster healthcare on both sides of the Pyrenees, held its third partnership meeting as a videoconference on December 10, 2020. During the meeting, a report was given by each partner on its progress: the University Hospital Center of Toulouse (CHUT), Navarrabiomed, the Hospital Center of the Basque Coast (CHCB) and the Emergency Medical Services of Catalonia (SEM).

The outcomes obtained thus far include the mobile hospital created by the CHUT for use in the fight against COVID-19. The hospital traveled to remote regions of Haute-Garonne to perform massive PCR testing in September and October. It is currently in Bayonne to provide support with emergencies at the CHCB, which has been overwhelmed by the pandemic. The hospital will travel to other partner regions in the coming months.

In January, the mobile hospital will be moved to Navarre to provide support during the coronavirus vaccination campaign to be launched by the Government of Navarre in early 2021. The CHUT will then send the hospital to Catalonia. Infrastructure of this kind is the result of the project’s technological research, development and innovation, which are focused on designing and developing tools that provide an improved response in emergency and disaster situations.

At the same time, the CHCB and Navarrabiomed have been working on creating an interactive map of all the healthcare resources in the regions on both sides of the Pyrenees. These partners are also analyzing the implementation of healthcare services by organizers of major events. The CHCB performed an exhaustive analysis of mass events held in Europe and created a survey, which was sent to the parties responsible for these events. When the responses have been analyzed, a proposal will be drawn up of common procedures and international guidelines.

Cross-border training

One of the project’s goals is to create a master’s degree program to promote specialized training for professionals in emergency and disaster situations. This activity is being coordinated by the SEM. The content of this two-year, hybrid, cross-border, interuniversity master’s program will be targeted not only at healthcare professionals, but also at other agents involved in these events, such as communication and logistics personnel. The program will consist of four modules on the specific kinds of crisis situations students will have to deal with. With the master’s thesis project, the master’s degree program has a total of 65 credits and will be taught starting in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Navarrabiomed reported on its design of an emergency simulation platform that can be used in teaching activities for master’s programs and other training courses at universities in partner regions. Despite the COVID-19 situation, the partner organizations are finding their way through the difficulties caused by the pandemic and putting all their efforts into making progress on the project, though many of the participants have to perform a juggling act to combine this activity with their healthcare responsibilities at emergency services seriously affected by coronavirus. However, the partners are optimistic and plan to meet in person at the next partnership meeting, to be held in Barcelona in June 2021, coronavirus permitting.

The total EGALURG budget comes to €2,343,192, of which €1,523,075 (65%) was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Interreg Program V-A Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The goal of the POCTEFA program is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra cross-border area. Its help is focused on developing cross-border economic, social and environmental projects through joint strategies in favor of sustainable regional development.

Updated measures against COVID-19 in the Euroregion

The updated infographic of measures against the COVID-19 of the Euroregion contains comparative data from the three regions on issues such as labour mobility, hotel and catering opening regime, education and school situation, trade, use of public transport and other socio-sanitary considerations.

The measures of Navarre entered into force on 26 November, and those of Nouvelle-Aquitaine on 28.

Vía https://www.euroregion-naen.eu/es/