108 ambulance helpline: Man calls service for accident victim, faces barrage of queries | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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108 ambulance helpline: Man calls service for accident victim, faces barrage of queries

After calling up the 108 ambulance service to get help for a road accident victim, a conscientious citizen of Lucknow found himself entangled in a long fruitless conversation.

lucknow Updated: Dec 12, 2017 13:17 IST
Gaurav Saigal
The recorded conversation -- a copy of which is with HT -- reveals how the passer-by was questioned repeatedly even after he had helped the ambulance call centre staff track the location of the mishap.
The recorded conversation -- a copy of which is with HT -- reveals how the passer-by was questioned repeatedly even after he had helped the ambulance call centre staff track the location of the mishap.(HT)

After calling up the 108 ambulance service to get help for a road accident victim, a conscientious citizen of Lucknow found himself entangled in a long fruitless conversation. Meanwhile, the injured remained unattended.

The recorded conversation -- a copy of which is with HT -- reveals how the passer-by was questioned repeatedly even after he had helped the ambulance call centre staff track the location of the mishap -- Badel crossing.

The call centre staff was heard asking the caller, Ramesh, to stay on the spot, as the two ambulances attached to the district hospital were busy in other cases. While the staff said it would take time for either of the ambulances to reach the spot, the caller insisted that the vehicle be sent soon.

The call centre staff then tried to get another ambulance from Barauli, but the driver of the vehicle expressed inability to reach the accident spot, citing distance as the reason. The driver even suggested that if the patient was too serious, he could be taken to the hospital in a private vehicle.

Ironically, this is where the conversation concluded -- at the suggestion that the patient be taken to the hospital in a private vehicle. This, despite the fact that 108 and 102 ambulances are meant to ferry patients to the nearest government hospital or health centre.

Commenting on the conversation, Jitendra Walia, state head for 108 and 102 ambulance services run by GVK EMRI, told HT, “We are still to find out the exact location where the accident (to which the recording pertains) happened. Also, as any district hospital has only two ambulances attached to it, it’s possible that there may have been a crisis situation.”

He added that the call centre staff even tried connecting to another ambulance, but that ambulance was “too far away”. “Our staff was continuously asking the caller to let the patient be shifted in the ambulance that she was trying to arrange. She said it would take sometime for the ambulance to reach, which is usually the case. Normally, it does take 20 to 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach an accident spot. However initially, she could not hear the caller’s voice (which she mentioned in the conversation) and then the caller misunderstood her,” Walia clarified.

He added that with 712 ambulances also being added to the existing fleet, soon there would be three ambulances attached to at every district hospital.