Chandigarh: PGIMER mulls over setting up prepaid counters for ambulances

PGI said that efforts were on to end the shortage of ambulances.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh | Published:October 19, 2016 5:29 am

The Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is contemplating setting up prepaid counters for people requiring ambulances to ferry the bodies or critically ill patients from the hospital.

A four-member committee has been formed by the hospital administration to devise a mechanism on how prepaid booths can be set up at the hospital.

Setting up of prepaid booths was one of several corrective measures suggested by a committee which was formed by PGI to investigate the ambulance scam which was unearthed by the police at the hospital in June.

Watch Video: What’s making news

“The committee will check if a mechanism can be formed to set up prepaid booths at various locations at the hospital,” a committee member told Chandigarh Newsline. He said the committee would meet to discuss various factors, including the manpower and the infrastructure for this plan, before starting the system.

The official said, “The family members can book ambulances at the booth and can make payment to avoid any kind of harassment from the drivers.”

The PGIMER on Saturday also wrote to various NGOs and trusts to provide all the details of their ambulances and drivers.

In June, the UT Police had arrested seven PGI employees after they busted an illegal ambulance service racket which was on in PGI. Since then, people have been facing inconvenience due to shortage of ambulances as the PGI administration has failed to address the issue.

The PGI director had formed a five-member committee to investigate the racket and also suggest corrective measures.

In its report, the committee had said, “The committee recommends that a mechanism be created, which would register the willing taxi operators/hearse van/ ambulance operators/taxi service providers for the purpose of carrying the dead bodies and or/critically ill patients. After registration of 15-20 taxi operators, the PGI authorities will issue slips to the patients’ relatives for hiring the taxi, as is done in a prepaid taxi booth. The per kilometre rate shall be as determined by the Chandigarh Transport Authority.”

It added, “Prepaid system as followed by plying of taxis by Delhi Police may be followed for long distance travel and PGI reception/emergency to ACT as coordinating centres.”

As many as seven registered NGOs are operating at PGI and are ferrying bodies and patients from the institute. The number of ambulances, however, is not sufficient.

“We require around 25-30 ambulances during day and at least 10 ambulances during the night,” said Ashwani Khanna, from Mata Mansa Devi Sewak Dal Dharmarth & Bhandara Committee, one of the trusts which currently provides ambulances at PGI.

PGI said that efforts were on to end the shortage of ambulances.

“We will see how we can rope in more NGOs and taxi operators so that we can end the problem of ambulance shortage,” said PGI spokeswoman Manju Wadwalkar. She said that the new committee would also examine the prepaid mechanism for ambulances at the hospital.