Healthcare Denied: The impact of checkpoints on ambulance access

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) records the timings of ambulance transfers and any incidents which may occur on a central database in order to track the work of their staff and identify issues to be raised with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In partnership with Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), MAP have collated the statistics and cases outlined below demonstrate the issues faced by PRCS teams on a daily basis. They highlight the negative impact of checkpoints and, in particular, back-to-back ambulance transfers on journeys and, most importantly, on patient health.


In order to have access to appropriate medical care it is sometimes necessary for emergency and non-emergency patients to be transferred from the West Bank to hospitals in Jerusalem.

In the process of this transfer, any patient passing through a checkpoint into East Jerusalem in a Palestinian ambulance must be transferred from the Palestinian registered ambulance to an Israeli registered ambulance. This process causes delays, which can lead to transfers through a checkpoint taking sometimes five times longer, causing significant discomfort and medical risk for the patient as they are walked or wheeled between ambulances in sometimes critical condition.

It is essential for the well-being and right to health of Palestinians that ambulances are given free access to hospitals.

To read cases of other risks to ambulance staff and patients, click the links below:

Ambulance services and patients must be permitted to move freely and to access appropriate medical care without obstruction. The process of back-to-back transfers, and all harassment and attacks on medical personal must end.


Featured image: A PRCS ambulance at a checkpoint. Image credit: Nuriya Oswald

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