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Ambulance service calls reduced after officials keep strict check on fake trips in Ghaziabad

The nodal officer makes 10-12 random calls and recently made 60-70 calls in September on the mobile numbers of the patients who availed the facility.

noida Updated: Oct 11, 2017 22:34 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
ambulance service,noida healthcare,healthcare
After a number of checks and balances, the number of trips and calls made by UP ambulance services has reduced in Ghaziabad.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The health department officials in Ghaziabad have put in strict checks to track the calls attended by the 102 and 108 ambulance service, provided free of cost to patients by the state government. The officials said that the checks will help them get rid of suspected fake calls and trips allegedly made by drivers to siphon off fuel.

The district runs 17 vehicles under the 102 service which allows free transport of pregnant women and infants from home to the health facility and also offers a drop back. The 108 ambulances, with 11 vehicles, are generally entrusted to drop patients to hospitals, one way. These also include patients injured in accidents.

“We have been asked to maintain registers to maintain entry of trips made by ambulances. We have maintained two registers for 102 service, which offers pick and drop, and one register for 108 service which offers one way drop facility,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer, Ghaziabad.

“Once the ambulance reaches the health facility, the entry is made in register and signed by ambulance medical staff and also by the staff of the health facility. A nodal officer also conducts random checks about the trips made. He makes calls to the mobile number of patients to verify whether they called up the ambulance or not,” Dr Gupta added.

The nodal officer makes 10-12 random calls and recently made 60-70 calls in September on the mobile numbers of the patients who availed the facility.

Earlier, the data reporting about the ambulance service was made on the basis of number of beneficiaries transported. Now, the present government has changed the format and is now reported on the basis of calls.

According to official statistics, for instance for the month of September, 2016, the 102 ambulance transported nearly 6,100 beneficiaries. This is exceptionally high in contrast to nearly 3,188 calls made this September.

Likewise, the 108 ambulances transported nearly 2,300 beneficiaries in as many calls in September, 2016 as compared to 860 calls made in September this year.

The health department officials pointed out that ambulance services had loopholes and flaws as drivers sometimes made fake trips and allegedly entered fraudulent entries to siphon off money or fuel.

On June 14, 2017, the state officials also sent directions across the health departments to maintain proper registers and entries. The communications said that the officials found serious issues and irregularities with regard to the trips made and also the GPS tracking data of the ambulance services.

“The difference in calls earlier and now was substantial. So, there had been instructions to put in checks in place. Presently the trips made by ambulances are majorly verified,” Dr Gupta added.

The ambulance service is run through service provider and paid by the state government on per case basis.

“There were earlier allegations of fake calls by drivers etc and some calls also landed to Delhi. Now, strict checks have been put in place and the calls have come down. In 2016 we had nearly 13-14 patients transported by 102 ambulances per day per ambulance. In 2017, the frequency has come down to 8-9 patients per day,” said Sachin Tyagi, the district coordinator for ambulance service provider.

“Likewise, in 2016 the average patients dealt by 108 ambulances were 5-6 per day per ambulance. The figure is now 3-4 patients per day. We have also ensured that calls will be logged by the patients and not by staff as was done in earlier cases. ID of patients is also made necessary now during calls,” he added.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 22:33 IST