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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Citizens can call for blood from today Free Hi-Tech Ambulances To Be Launched In A Month

Mumbai: The Blood on Call scheme will be rolled out in Mumbai and the rest of the state on Tuesday when chief minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurates the project at Sir J J Metropolitan blood bank. The public health department has been carrying out pilot projects in Satara and Sindhudurg over the past year. 

    As part of its plan to enhance healthcare facilities in the state, the government also looks to launch a free emergency ambulance service within a month with the first 50 high-tech ambulances, fitted with advanced equipment, being ready to hit the road. 
    After the launch of the blood scheme, patients' families will no longer have to run helter-skelter, looking for the right group. They can simply dial 104 and place an order. A call centre will alert the nearest district blood bank to deliver the blood. Each bottle will cost Rs 450; for delivery within 10 km, an extra Rs 50 will be charged and for 11 to 40 km, the amount will be Rs 100. The health department promises that the blood will reach within an hour of a request being placed. The state has also notified private hospitals that it is mandatory for them to be part of the scheme. They will have to register with their district blood banks. 
    With the ambulance service, the government aims to offer medical help to accident victims and other critical patients in the crucial "golden hour". "A total of 972 hi-tech 
ambulances will be part of the emergency medical service. We already have 50 ambulances ready and another 150 is expected by month-end. We plan to launch the scheme by January-end or by mid-February. The health department plans to exhibit the ambulances at the Republic Day parades," health minister Suresh Shetty told TOI. 
    But Thane and Navi Mumbai will have to wait a little longer as the launch is planned in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and a few rural areas first. 
    According to a senior health department official, over 230 ambulances will have advanced life-support facilities and doctors onboard, who will administer emergency treatment. "The hi-tech ambulances will have enhanced equipment to treat cardiac and other critical pa
tients. For instance, these ambulances will be fitted with a defibrillator, a device used to counteract fibrillation (irregular contraction) of the heart muscle," the official added. The rest of the ambulances will have basic life-support facilities but those equipment will be far more advanced than those found on regular ambulances. "By March, all 972 ambulances, with advanced as well as basic lifesupport systems, will be on roads," Shetty said. 
    About the private ambulance tariff dispute, Shetty claimed most of the problem will be solved once the emergency medical services are rolled out. "Why would citizens call for private ambulances, when they would have the option of getting hi-tech government ambulances for free?" the minister said. 


    972 ambulances will be launched in the state under emergency medical services (EMS) 

    Among those, 230 ambulances will have advanced lifesupport system, while the rest will have basic lifesupport facilities. But even the basic facilities will include health equipment that are not found on regular ambulances 
The high-tech ambulances will have equipment to treat cardiac as well as other critical patients. For instance, they will be fitted with a defibrillator, a device used to counteract rapid contraction of the heart muscle and treat cardiac patients. Even doctors will be present on these ambulances who will be able to administer initial and emergency treatment 


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