A day after a video was widely shared on social media purportedly showing a woman patient being transported to a community health centre (CHC) in Shamli on a cart attached to a cycle as the 108 ambulance service allegedly did not respond to calls made by her relative, the district administration Saturday denied the allegations.
“I got to know about the incident through some newspaper reports claiming that relatives of the patient had called up the ambulance service, but the vehicle never came. It was also alleged that the woman was not given proper medical help. I immediately asked the sub-divisional magistrate of Shamli to investigate the matter. He spoke to the husband of the patient, who denied making any such call for an ambulance. The husband works at a brick kiln and asked one of his friends for the vehicle on which he brought his wife to the health centre,” said District Magistrate (DM) Akhilesh Singh.
Need to reduce response time of ambulance service
According to the UP National Health Mission (NHM) office, there are 1,488 ambulances operational in the state and by the month-end, 712 more will be added, taking the total number to 2,200. The average response time of an ambulance is claimed to be at around 30 minutes in rural areas and 20 minutes in urban regions. With the addition of new ambulances, the health department expects the response time to come down to 15 minutes. A senior health official, who did not wish to be named, said Uttar Pradesh was a “big state” and that was why problems over ambulance service response keep arising, adding, “We are trying to improve it.”
“The woman was treated at the hospital and was also referred to Meerut, but her husband did not take her there. The family has expressed satisfaction with the action taken so far. The allegations about the ambulance service are false,” Singh added.
The woman, identified as 36-year-old Anju Devi, is paralysed and has a medical issue in her spine. Her husband, Bobby (40), claimed that he doesn’t know if any call was made by his kin to the 108 ambulance service.
“On Friday, my wife complained of pain in her spine. I told a relative, Rahul Kumar, about this. I don’t know if he made a call to the ambulance service. I decided to take my wife on a cart to the CHC. When we reached there, I was made to run around from one department to another. A doctor attended to my wife only after some mediapersons intervened. Before that, they were asking me to take her to Meerut,”
Bobby added. The district administration has not yet contacted Rahul to verify the allegations.
Shamli Additional DM Anand Kumar Shukla also claimed that the allegations over tyhe ambulance service were false.
Shamli Sadar Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Surjeet Singh, who looked into the matter, said a doctor who was present at the CHC at the time claimed that he was busy at the emergency ward.
Asked why the woman patient wasn’t provided an ambulance when returning home, he claimed that as per protocol, ambulance was provided only when a patient has to be transported to other health facilities.