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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Soon, state to get 972 hi-tech ambulances

UK Agency Ties Up With Indian Co For Service

Mumbai: A UK-based ambulance service will provide as many as 972 hi-tech emergency medical services (EMS) in the state. The venture is being undertaken in consortium with Indian firm Bharat Vikas Group (BVG). 

    The initiative aims to offer assistance to accident victims and other critical patients in the crucial first hour known as the "golden hour". 
    While BVG is new in the field, the other bidders—GVK and Mather— are out of the race as they failed to meet criteria such as providing hi-tech devices in ambulances that were mentioned in the tendering process. 
    Asked why the EMS was being handed over to an inexperienced company, Bhushan Gagrani, secretary, public health department, said, "We are aware that BVG is new in the service industry. But the tender floated by 
the state government was global. The BVG tied up with the UK-based ambulance service provider which has good experience in handling the EMS. Before awarding the final contract, the department has called representatives of the UK ambulance services to give its presentation to the government. Also, thehealth department will take an undertaking from the foreign service provider that whenever the government calls for a meeting to discuss the subject, its representatives and technical support will be made available to the state administration." 
    Aware that there might be allegations and litigations, the state has kept itself away from the tendering process. "A three-member team of All India Institute of Medical Sciences was appointed to set the technical specification required for the EMS," a senior official said. 
    Asked how long it will take for 972 ambulances to hit the road, the official said, "If everything goes well, the work order will be issued in a couple of months. Thereafter, in phases, the ambulances with advance life support and basic life support will be on roads. For 972 ambulances to roll out in Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur and other parts of the state, it will take a minimum 12 months." 
    The state will spend around Rs 900 crore for the entire project for five years. 

What They Offer 
These ambulances will have nearly 40 types of advanced equipment to treat cardiac and other critical patients. For instance, they will be equipped with a defibrillator—a device used to counteract fibrillation of the heart muscle. TNN


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