Pune, Mumbai and Thane have received maximum calls for emergency ambulance service at the government’s toll-free helpline 108. However, as far as road accident-related cases are concerned, Nashik reported the highest number of calls this year. Data from the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) between December 2015 till November 2016 shows that calls for emergency medical aid were in total 11.43 lakh of which 55,512 were road accident related. In Nashik, people made 4,285 calls during road accidents for medical aid, followed by Ahmednagar with 3,755 calls and Pune with 3,539 calls to the helpline number.
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In Nashik, during the Kumbh Mela, a huge footfall from across India was witnessed. Over 80 ambulances of 108 helpline were stationed, and a large number of calls were received resulting in a large number of patients being transported by ambulance.
Even as Mumbai with the maximum population recorded the highest fatalities due to road accidents in 2015— 611 deaths in 2,551 accidents according to annual crime report from the CID— calls to the helpline number were significantly lower. In 2016, only 1,612 road accident related calls were made to 108.
The emergency ambulance was started as a free aid by the health department to save lives in the golden hour. It has 937 ambulances, run under the Bharat Vikas Group, of which 233 are advanced life support ones with specialised cardiac facilities. Mumbai has 102 ambulances, of which 26 have advanced life support system. Over 39 ambulances are positioned outside railway stations that witness most accidents— 11 on an average every day— in local trains.
According to Dnyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer of MEMS, awareness in rural areas is greater than urban centres. “In Mumbai, patients also use private ambulances for transfer from one hospital to another or from home,” he said.
In 2015, Mumbai reported most accidental deaths, while Pune saw 543 deaths. Also, road accidents have increased this year— from 42,250 in 2015 to at least 55,512, as per calls received by the helpline across the state.
The data from MEMS indicates there were 83,113 calls made from Pune for emergencies such as heart attack, delivery, road accidents and other medical emergencies. Mumbai came second with 61,419 calls followed by Ahmednagar with 53,186 calls.