The many odd uses of GMSH-16 ambulances

They deliver food, letters and ferry doctors

Written by TANBIR DHALIWAL | Chandigarh | Published: November 3, 2014 5:26 am
An ambulance is used to carry food at Government Civil Block Hospital in Sector 22, Chandigarh. (Source: Express photo by Sahil Walia) An ambulance is used to carry food at Government Civil Block Hospital in Sector 22, Chandigarh. (Source: Express photo by Sahil Walia)

Ambulances of the Government Multi-Specility Hospital in Sector 16 (GMSH-16) are being found doing odd jobs throughout the day like delivering letters, ferrying doctors and other staff members, and supplying food to patients.

The ambulance drivers spend more travel time on duties than emergency care. When questioned, several ambulance drivers revealed that they are asked by the hospital authorities to deliver letters to the Secretariat or to the house addresses of doctors.

An audit conducted by the CAG also mentioned, “It was noticed that ambulances were being used for the delivery of dak, dropping of doctors and other staff members, and distribution of food to patients of the Government Civil Block Hospital in Sector 22 and Manimajra.” The food is question is supplied under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karayakaram (JSSK) programme and is free of cost.

“Thrice a day, an ambulance carrying food for patients visits the hospital in Sector 22 from GMSH-16. Long back, the food would be supplied in a truck, but as the latter is out of order, the authorities use ambulances for the purpose,” said one of the sources, who wished not to be named. Another ambulance driver on the basis of anonymity confirmed that on a daily basis, ambulances are being used to pick up and drop doctors.

“It is my third round in the day. First, I went to pick up a doctor from his house, then took him to the market where he had some personal work, brought him to the hospital and then dropped him back home,” he said.

When asked if ambulances are also used to deliver letters to senior authorities, three ambulance drivers confirmed it separately.

“Delivering letters in an ambulance from GMSH-16 to other departments and the UT Secretariat is a routine affair. Four letters were delivered yesterday (on Saturday) to four different locations, one of which was a doctor’s residence,” confirmed the third ambulance driver.

On being questioned, Dr Vandana Gupta, MS, GMSH-16, admitted, “For the time being, the ambulances are being used to supply food to pregnant women at Civil Hospital, Sector 22. The hospital administration is working on purchasing a separate food cargo van which will be used for the purpose.”

However, she refused to admit that ambulances are used to deliver letters and ferry doctors. She said, “It is not possible. Occasionally, or in cases of emergency, one can use an ambulance for these purposes, but not regularly.”

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