Your chances of getting an ambulance: 50% | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Your chances of getting an ambulance: 50%

Delhi government may have managed to save its face by buying 31 ambulances before the Commonwealth Games 2010, but two-thirds of the fleet are still lying parked — and unused — on the lawns of Maulana Azad Medical College for the last two months.

delhi Updated: Nov 26, 2010 01:50 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

Delhi government may have managed to save its face by buying 31 ambulances before the Commonwealth Games 2010, but two-thirds of the fleet are still lying parked — and unused — on the lawns of Maulana Azad Medical College for the last two months.

Soon after the Games, 10 ambulances were handed over to the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS), which provides ambulance service on call.

But the rest of the ambulances, including 10 with basic life support and 11 with advanced life support facilities, are lying idle.

"This is criminal waste of public money, especially when CATS is unable to provide ambulances most of the time," said a doctor from a government hospital, wishing to remain anonymous.

"Just day before yesterday, I called up CATS thrice for an advanced life support ambulance but they said they had none. My patient was very critical and needed to be shifted to a bigger hospital. Unfortunately, they did not even have a basic life support ambulance with them," he said, claiming not getting ambulances is a daily practice.

An official working with CATS said they have to refuse at least 50 per cent of ambulance requests daily.

"Of our 35 ambulances, five are non-functional on any given day, while the rest are insufficient to cater to the 150-200 calls we get daily," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, as he was unauthorised to speak to the media.

"The bigger problem is that most ventilators and defibrillators have been stolen from the new ambulances,” he said.

The CATS services were also suffering from severe staff crunch as the last recruitment drive took place in 1999.

"Late last night, we passed an order to evenly distribute the ambulances among all our Delhi government hospitals. They are already available for use and will function under CATS surveillance but will be positioned in hospitals," said Kiran Walia, Delhi health minister.

"Even if we handed over the advanced life support ambulances to CATS, it wouldn't serve the purpose, as they do not have enough trained paramedics who can both drive and treat patients,” she said.