In a bid to make ‘108’ ambulance service more efficient, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Thursday spelled out a number of steps including making the service more responsive and introduction of ‘medical audit’ of the service to be conducted after every 15 days.
Rane, who took over as Health Minister four days ago, asked the people running the 108 ambulance service to give him a report about patients attended and calls received on daily basis.
The 108 emergency ambulances have often been criticised for their poor service.
Rane had introduced the service during his earlier tenure as health minister in the Digambar Kamat government. However, in the last couple of years there have been complaints against the service as the ambulances have been found not reaching in time at the sites from where distress calls emanate.
Replying to a question on the ambulance service at a press conference at Dona Paula, Rane said that he has already started cracking the whip so as to get the service back on track.
“The ambulance service will be operated in a more efficient manner, and they (drivers and attendants) will have to respond to distress calls within 15-20 minutes,” he said.
The minister has initiated streamlining the service holding two rounds of meetings with the director of health services and other officials.
“The service entails trained paramedics on ambulances. We had good staff in the past,” Rane said, adding that he has already started bringing about changes in the service.
Rane said that 10 new ambulances equipped with advanced life-saving facilities would be pressed into service by May 15.
More youngsters would be trained for the service and it would be ensured that all accident-prone zones are covered.
The people running the 108 ambulance service will have to report to Rane’s office everyday, and the response to distress calls will have to be faster.
If a patient is not attended to within 15-20 minutes then the concerned people will have to give an explanation for the delay.
On April 24, Rane will make a brief presentation to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on steps to be taken to augment the service.
According to Rane, there has not been medical audit of the emergency ambulance service for several years. Now the medical audit will be done in every 15 days.
Rane is also trying to get back in the service the old paramedics who had been trained.
Stating that he would personally inspect the ambulances, Rane said, “I have inspected the ambulances meant for neonatal care. They are in good shape.”