The state health department is planning an integration to improve the existing ambulance services in Madhya Pradesh. The helpline number (108) to call ambulances would also be changed to 102 where medical advice would be available 24X7.
"People of Madhya Pradesh would get free medical advice round the clock over a helpline in addition to integration of ambulance services," said Pravir Krishn, the principal secretary of the health department. He confirmed that the process to start the integration of ambulance services and medical advice helpline has been started.
The health department has 670 ambulances under 108 services while more than 2,000 contractual ambulances across the state are catering to smaller towns across the state. These ambulances are difficult to monitor. But if they are integrated, their monitoring would become easier and would benefit more people, sources said.
All the ambulances will be equipped with Global Positioning System. This would ascertain their locations that would make monitoring easy. Call would reach the helpline control room from where the ambulance from the nearest area would be sent. Air ambulance and river ambulances (HT has already published this news) that are on the anvil can also be called by dialing 102.
Krishn said the service would be available from the first week of March. After integration of the ambulance services and starting the medical advice helpline 108 number would be changed to 102. Appropriate arrangements to publicise this number would also be made.
Speaking about medical helpline, Krishn said 16 doctors would remain on duty round the clock to attend to calls. These doctors would guide the callers after listening to their symptoms.
"If the ailment is common like fever or headache they would suggest some medicines or otherwise they would guide them about government doctors and medical facility in their areas," Krishn added. Callers would also get SMSes on their phones with medicine prescription on completing their calls.