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    108 ambulance service flagged off in UT

    PUDUCHERRY: The 108 ambulance for  emergency response service has been launched in Puducherry by the Chief minister N Rangasamy on Monday. This is a round-the-clock free service delivered through the emergency call response for a well-equipped ambulance to take a patient to a tertiary care  health  centre. At present, calls to the emergency service 108 could be made from land lines only. From Tuesday people could also make call to the number from mobile phones, said the Chief Minister launching the programme. Stating that several lives are lost due to delay in transporting a patient to a tertiary health care centre either in case of accident or medical emergency, the 108 ambulance service would be a milestone in  health care delivery system.
    The service is implemented by the Department of Health and Family Welfare in association with Puducherry State Health Mission (PSHM)  at an estimated Rs 1.33 crores funded under PSHM. It has the  call centre in Indira Gandhi government general hospital and Post-graduate Institute and eight tempo traveler ambulances  operated by 22 drivers recruited by PSHM from Indian Red Cross Society for transportation of patients. The ambulance is fitted with oxygen cylinder, a delivery kit, first aid, IV fluids. Emergency medicines would also be given once technicians are posted, said Dr Vijaya Balakandan, Mission Director, PSHM.
    The department is making efforts to post technicians by tying up with JIPMER, said Dr K V Raman, Director, Department of Health and Family Welfare. The trainees of emergency medicines who have completed the course would serve in the ambulances till their internship period.
    The call centre established at IGGGHPGI  is equipped with three lines and 10 call operators  for people to avail of the service.  The ambulance drivers have been provided with mobile phones. The  nodal officer is Dr Prakash, Deputy Director, Immunization  
    Once the call centre receives a call, the call centre operators would alert the nearest  ambulance and within 60 minutes the patient would be given medical attention at a tertiary medical centre, said Dr Raman. Both government and private medical colleges have volunteered to treat such patients on priority free of charges. The emergency treatment would be free of charge even in private medical colleges, he said.
    Some of the ambulances would be upgraded to advanced life saving ambulance with ECG monitor and defibrillator for cardiac emergency patients and also another one with neonatalogy life saving ambulance next year,  said Dr Raman.
    Directive To Health Care Authorities
     The Chief minister has directed health care authorities to ensure grievance-free medical care to the patients to their satisfaction. He said that some complaints have come to him in the recent past and has  enquired about into them.
    Though thousands of patients are being given treatment, for the relatives their patient was foremost and health care professionals should keep it in mind.
    Stating that government would do its best to provide the best medical care,  Rangasamy said all vacant posts would be filled up for which measures were being taken.