Karnataka to revamp ambulance service for Covid care

In view of its critical role in emergencies, the ‘108’ ambulance service in Karnataka would be revamped for better Covid care, state Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Friday.

“The ambulance service will be revamped to ensure better healthcare during the golden hour in Covid times,” Sudhakar told reporters here after a review meeting with health officials and representatives of iDeCK (Infrastructure Development Corporation (Karnataka) Ltd.

iDeCK is a joint venture of the Karnataka government, the Infrastructure Development Finance Company Ltd (IDFC), and Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC).

“As ambulance service plays a critical role in saving lives during emergencies, I have directed the Health Department to ensure its availability even in rural areas across the state with the help of local partners,” said Sudhakar.

Admitting that the present system of the emergency service had loopholes, the minister said digital technology and global operating system would be used to regulate and streamline its operations for efficient delivery.

“Though huge amount of public money is spent on operating the ambulance fleet across the state, its service quality is not in proportionate to the cost incurred. We will use a world class system to make it a role model for other states to emulate across the country,” he said.

Sudhakar directed the department to give the ambulance service contract to companies or organisations which comply with global standards in operating their fleet.

“The service contract should be given through a global tender to firms which are technically qualified and financially strong to operate them,” he added.

The minister told the officials that the service contract should be based on geographical location rather than on 1 lakh population.

“Ambulance should reach a patient within minutes of receiving a call or message. The fleet staff has to be trained even to provide first aid. They should have an app on the lines of ride-sharing firms like Uber and Ola,” added Sudhakar.

The service should use the global positioning system (GPS) and a 24×7 call centre.

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