Medics on the move

12.07.44: THE HEALTH giant Medica yesterday unveiled its super-ambulances, which guarantee immediate treatment for emergencies its members cannot handle at home.

The ambulances, complete with trauma pods and an operating theatre, serve for all but the most serious operations.

"When a member contacts us we immediately have the latest reports from their biosensors," said Sergei Galitzine, Medica's medical director. "This tells us their blood pressure, stress hormones and the state of the immune system. We also hold their full medical records, including a genetic analysis. Before we even get there, our medimechanics know what to expect, the patient's medical history and which drugs might cause problems."

If an ambulance is called to a house, the medimechanics will check to see if the home information systems could handle the problem.

"Often we find people have just panicked. In the majority of cases the use of mediscreens for a diagnosis and a call to Dial-a-Drug is enough to deal with it," said Galitzine.

An accident on the street or something more serious can be dealt with quickly.

"Complications can be handled by teams of specialists worldwide," said Galitzine. "All the ambulances have full 3-D telelinks. We have a bowel expert in Japan, for instance, and a specialist in gunshot wounds in Cape Town."

However, a Labour party spokesman was sceptical, saying the system amounted to more care for people who are already mollycoddled. "Companies like Medica cover only 65% of the population," he said. "These are the people who already have access to health-boosting foods and practise psycho-relaxation. The poorest 20% will die 10 years earlier than the rich."

The rise of in-home treatments has meant that many of the mega-hospitals built at the end of the last century have become redundant; some have been turned into hotels and conference centres, while others have specialised in holistic medicine.

The newly converted Prince's Health Trust in Bristol offers patients 45 treatments for cancer, including energy medicine pulsing, chakra bonding and HeartMath electrical field balancing. A few hospitals remain, serving low-resource areas such as East Hackney. They use a combination of basic drugs and traditional Chinese and Indian methods.