JK Health department mulling to outsource operation of ambulance services
Srinagar, Jul 31: After failing to control and manage the state-run ambulances, the Government has taken the step to outsource this area of the healthcare system in Jammu and Kashmir to private companies. Managing Director Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that tenders, 102, 103 in this regard have been floated where by three quotations have been received which are under active consideration. “This noble cause shall be a joint venture by the health department and the medical supplies corporation to provide high quality services to the needy patients. The private partners would likely manage and operate entire ambulances of the state,” he said. Sources said that this is being done to strengthen medical facilities in the state. The Managing Director further said, “Under the project, 300 ambulances of health and medical education department will also be outsourced.” “Once the tender process will be completed, the private players will be given the responsibility to run these ambulances. “We have listed the facilities in the tender that are being sought from them, along with the kind of manpower required.” He said that the government had earlier floated a tender for inviting rates from the professional bidders but somehow no response was received in that direction. Sources said that all the ambulances of health and medical education department shall be kept at the disposal of the medical corporation which shall operate and monitor the services allotted to the bidder. A social activist informs that it is a step forward towards the cause of humanity and we hope that the charges would be bearable by the needy persons. Sources said that the health department will come up with a Hi-tech Modern Control room both in Jammu and Srinagar. “The proposed modern control rooms will supervision of all ambulances along with real time call in queue status, caller location identification system to locate the caller based on GPS/GIS data of mobile handset, application based real time call transfer to ambulances, application based event log for all ambulance activities and pre-hospital notification system to alert concerned hospitals,” sources maintained. Meanwhile sources said that in violation to the guidelines set up the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the ambulances, the health department was using ambulances even without the Basic Life Support (BLS) system. The Ambulance services must carry equipment and medications as per requirement of treatment protocols, a guideline issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says. It must meet any international standard for Ambulance Supplies specifications”. However sources said that in Jammu and Kashmir a white Mazda vehicle or a pickup van fitted with a couch is termed as Ambulance. Sources said that the GPS was not working in existing ambulances in the state thus risking the lives of the people. The GPS is necessary for the ambulances as every second in a medical emergency is being counted by this equipment so that ambulances reach their destinations as quickly as possible. But, although the GPS is fitted in ambulances but is not working thus putting the lives of patients at stake during the emergency,” sources maintained.