Action against vehicles plying without proper documents and facilities

The State transport department will soon begin cracking down on ambulances that ply without proper documents under the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA). There are a total of 1,468 ambulances on city roads and 8,081 in the State. But many private ambulances do not meet the specifications mandated under the MVA, said transport department officials.

“Ambulances must be registered in the name of hospitals. The vehicle must be of a specific length and breadth to help the patient lie down comfortably and accommodate attendants. But, vehicles like jeeps and Omni vans are designated as ambulances in some places,” said a senior transport department official.

An ideal ambulance should have medical facilities such as freezers to store life-saving drugs, oxygen cylinders, stretchers and suction equipment. The vehicle should also have flash/strobe lights, a siren, proper suspension systems, sufficient lighting and ventilation.

He said that ambulances are supposed to carry only patients, but many of them even function as mortuary vans. “The Central government is coming up with a code for ambulances soon. But before that, we need to ensure that all ambulances are in perfect condition,” said the official.

Soon, senior transport department officials will hold a meeting with Regional Transport officers to collect information about ambulances in their jurisdiction.

“We will collect details about ambulances plying without proper fitness certificates and then, take action,” said the official.

An official of the health department said a number of private nursing homes use Omni vans as ambulances and in many cases, the staff are not trained in handling patients, especially when it comes to moving them.

Officials of GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), which operates the 108 ambulances in the State, said an ambulance should be equipped to maintain the ABC – Airway, Breathing and Circulation — in a patient.

“In terms of space inside the vehicle, an emergency medical technician (EMT) should be able to move around freely,” said B. Prabhudoss, head of marketing and hospital relations, GVK EMRI. It operates a total of 632 ambulances in the State, of which 35 are in the city. “Ambulances need trained paramedical staff and infrastructure starting with oxygen supply,” he explained.

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