COIMBATORE: The district got on Monday 12 ambulances equipped with resuscitation and other modern facilities to rush victims of accidents or other medical emergencies to hospitals.
Health Minister M.R.K. Panneerselvam launched the free ambulatory service introduced by the Hyderabad-based Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI). Coimbatore was the third centre to get the facility after Chennai and Madurai.
Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj said that people could dial toll-free number 108 to get an ambulance to rush an accident victim or a person experiencing chest pain to hospital. The number could be accessed through landline and cell phone. EMRI’s hub could locate the spot from where the calls originated and rush an ambulance nearest to it.
“The objective is to provide modern emergency care free of cost to poor patients,” the Minister said. Mr. Subburaj also said the service would be very useful to pregnant women when they went into labour. The Health Secretary said the State Government had provided Rs. 30 crore for the ambulatory services that was a joint programme of the EMRI and the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project.
Earlier, the Government had provided ambulances in its hospitals, but there were complaints of shortage of drivers, fuel or delay in service.
Handing over the system to voluntary bodies did not bring about the desired improvement. The latest effort was expected to prove good, given the record so far of EMRI.
EMRI said in a release that the aim was to cover the entire State with a fleet of 600 ambulances by 2010.