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Opinion: How can we address denial of ambulance at government hospital in India

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Nowadays, in India, if we listen to news and read the newspaper, we find out that a brother was carrying his burnt sister on his back because the hospital didn’t provide his ambulance. Also, it becomes really disturbing when we find out that a father had to carry his dead son due to denial of ambulance.

India is a large country with its huge network of public healthcare delivery system across the country. The medical technology has made much advancement leading to better healthcare facilities in the country.

In spite of technology advancement and improved healthcare facilities, the accessibility and availability of health services in the government health system remains a million dollar question. We are quite aware of the attitude of public health functionaries and absence of service providers during duty hours in urban and rural health facilities.

In India, the National Health Mission have provisioned for free referral transport scheme and two types of ambulance services— ‘108’ and ‘102’, are spread across India. Besides this, there are ambulances under National Ambulance Services (NAS), which are given to hospital for other emergency situation.There are many trust and NGOs who run their ambulance for free of cost.

We hear news across India that many patients were denied ambulance during emergency at government health facilities due to which either death of the patient is reported or attendant has to walk a mile carrying the patient. This is very inhumane and system has to gear enough to not to repeat this incident again & again.

It is imperative that we should develop integrated medical transportation system across the country and ensure state to roll-out the same policy. This will avoid confusion among the patient and service provider too. There should be strict policy to legal action against the provider who denied this service due to unethical reason. We will also have to strengthen the current system by tightening existing loopholes. The policy should be made effective by regular monitoring and ensure no patient is denied of ambulance so that deaths reported due to this could be averted.

Kumar Vikrant

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