‘Shortage of ambulances puts lives of patients at risk’

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SRINAGAR: With the short­age of ambulances in the valley hospitals along with the existing ones lacking basic facilities, the proposal to introduce high-tech ambulances which will have Global Positioning System (GPS) has almost surpassed all the bu­reaucratic hurdles and may see the light of day very soon.

Authorities had earlier pro­pose that “25 Critical Care Am­bulances” for the emergencies, including road accidents will be placed along the Srinagar-Jammu Highway and other ac­cident prone areas after every 30 km distance. But even after over four years proposal is yet to be implemented on the ground.

Due to the inordinate delay, the lives of thousands of patients are being risked as the referrals for ventilator support are fer­ried in the ambulances that are mere “patient carriers”.

Official sources in the health department said that on practi­cal grounds, nothing has been done on ground to initiate such emergency services.

“We have been hearing time and again about lot of propos­als regarding the procurement of critical care ambulances and the related services. But, there are lot of “technical hitches” and “indecisiveness” on the part of both the union and state ministry to make the services available, which is constantly delaying such services,” sourc­es told KNS.

Over the years, there have been hundreds of incidents where the patients had died on the way to hospital due to the lack of critical care ambu­lances, especially during the current unrest.

Doctors said that due to the absence of critical care ambu­lances, lives of people are being risked by deferring the availabil­ity of such much needed vehicles.

“We have a unique require­ment in view of increasing road accidents, blast injury cases and the related critical care pa­tients,” said a senior doctor at SHMS, a tertiary care hospital.

Director Health Services Kashmir, Saleem-u-Rehman said some 50 hi-tech ambulances will be soon introduced in the state with GPS technology and other fully equipped with emer­gency gadgets.

He said earlier the 102 ambu­lance service was introduced on pilot basis but that didn’t work as the vehicles weren’t found fit for the service. “Now we are coming up with new 102 ambulance ser­vices very soon,” he said. (KNS)

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