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Emergency medical service plan may roll out in April

mumbai Updated: Dec 18, 2012 11:18 IST
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The first phase of Maharashtra Government's much awaited emergency medical service (EMS) plan is expected to roll out in April, with active participation of Indian American doctors, who are working with authorities to develop US-style EMS and trauma care model for Mumbai.

"The first phase of the plan which will cover Mumbai, is expected to be launched in April," co-founder of American Association Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Navin Shah said.

Shah, who recently met Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, health secretary Desiraju and Maharashtra chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia, said mortality rates in accident injuries would come down by around 30% once the EMS and trauma care plan is operationalised.

The plan is aimed at offering assistance to accident victims and other critical patients in the "golden hour", the time during which prompt intervention can save a patient’s life.

The plan would enable medical professionals to provide aid to the injured within the golden hour. The EMS has been functional in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Uttarakand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

"We have amalgamated services and expertise of 24 Mumbai hospitals, including Hinduja, Bombay Hospital, Lilavati, Nanavati, Hiranandani, Wockhardt and Bhatia hospitals, besides government run JJ, KEM and Sion hospitals," Shah said.

"We have full support from the American College of Surgeons’ Trauma director, Dr. Wayne Meredith who has offered a fully paid scholarship to invite one Mumbai surgeon for a week’s training in the US. Six US trauma surgeons will also visit India to train surgeons in Mumbai," Shah said.

India has one of the highest mortality rates in accident injuries, estimated at around 350,000 deaths annually, Shah said. Of these, around 9,000 are in Mumbai, which has a population of almost 1.6 crore, he added.

Azad welcomed the initiative to provide prompt and proper medical care to all emergent patients, especially belonging to middle and lower strata of the society, he said.

"Over the last five years, I have been working with the Prime Minister's Office, the Chief Minister and Health Secretary of Maharashtra, Mumbai Municipal Corporation and private hospitals, and have developed the EMS and trauma care plan for Mumbai, based on the one followed in the US," he said.

"In our meeting in Delhi last week, the advisor to the Prime Minister, TKA Nair, in fact, phoned the state chief secretary and asked him to expedite work on launch of the EMS and trauma care plan," Shah said.

"We also have support from the American Medical Association and we would like to create the Maharashtra project as a national model which can be replicated by other states. Such a structured US style service will save a large number of lives and curtail severe disabilities in a number of affected patients," he said.

In January, Maharashtra Government approved acquiring 920 ambulances for the entire state, he said. "The Government should list and classify all hospitals in the state as per their facilities and expertise prior to initiating the programme," Shah said.