In an another bid to completely privatise the health services in the hill State the Himachal Government on Friday decided to hand over the ‘Medical Response and Transport Services’ to a private company with immediate effect.

State Health Minister Rajiv Bindal and Principal Secretary Deepak Sanan in a joint press conference here on Friday said that initially Rs. 20 crore have been given to the company for starting emergency ambulance services and trauma call centres in the hill State.

The private company would be given money per month on the basis of ‘trips’ its vehicles would do to the nearest hospitals. This would amount to roughly Rs. 15 crore per annum.

“We are doing it for strengthening hospital emergency services in the State on the pattern of Gujarat,” said Mr. Bindal. The patients would not be charged any money and the efficiency of health department will be increased.

These highly efficient ambulances would reach in less than 30 minutes in urban areas and in 45 minutes in hilly terrain, claimed Mr. Bindal. The call centres would also be manned by fire brigade and police personnel and there would be 100 such imported ambulances in the first phase of experiment. The entire project is to be funded by the National Rural Health Mission money, he added.