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More ambulances soon to serve Coronavirus patients

More ambulances soon to serve Coronavirus patients
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More ambulances soon to serve Coronavirus patients

Highlights

There is a severe shortage of ambulances in the state due to the Covid-19 pandemic with fewer services in several districts.

Bengaluru: There is a severe shortage of ambulances in the state due to the Covid-19 pandemic with fewer services in several districts.

The Karnataka government is planning to invite tenders to beef up the fleet of ambulances for the Arogya Kavacha, the health service which runs 108 ambulances.

Tenders will be invited for ambulance service providers to launch sophisticated technology-based vehicles with certain modifications to services. The government's move comes in the wake of recent complaints of shortage of ambulances. There were reports that calls to Arogya Kavacha have declined by around 25 percent after the outbreak of the pandemic.

The state government has a total 711 ambulances, of this only 192 are dedicated to ferry Covid-19 patients. The rest are used for general emergencies for non-Covid-19 cases such as labour pain and snakebite victims.

The government aims to increase the ambulance number from the existing 711 to 1,000. The term for the new service provider will be for a period of seven years. The government is likely to spend Rs 1,850 crore. "The tender will help the government to meet the demand for ambulances. After Covid outbreak, the demand for the 108 ambulances was low in some districts, but demand was very high in certain districts. With the tender, the government intends to increase the fleet of ambulances so that it can meet the demand. There will be dedicated Covid ambulances," senior official from 108 Arogya Kavacha GVK EMRI said. Tenders had been called after the department's contract with GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) was terminated in recent times. Subsequently, a high-powered committee was to prepare the tender document. The Cabinet has recently gave a green signal for the tender process. "The government has agreed to call for tenders by adopting new rules in keeping with the complaints on 108 ambulance drivers and paramedical staff. Because we have received several complaints in providing medical aid to people and delay in ferrying the patients to private hospitals. It will be unfortunate if we commit the same mistake with a new tender. Hope everything will be fine with the new process," official added.

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