To provide better health services to the general public in the state, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, with the assistance of medical teams, conducted surprise checking of ambulances operating under 108 helpline facility across the State on Friday. “The Bureau had been receiving complaints about the poor conditions of these ambulances at some places, therefore we decided to conduct a state-wide surprise checking,” said Chief Director-cum-ADGP, Vigilance Bureau BK Uppal. Uppal said that during this special drive, the teams inspected the condition of the vehicles along with specified equipment installed and other instructions for the staff deputed with these ambulances. “Only off-road ambulances were inspected during this drive,” he added. He said that the Bureau had roped in officials from health department to check all ambulances thoroughly. Taking a serious note of various irregularities, a detailed report would be sent to the Health Department to improve the 108 Ambulance service in the state, the Vigilance Chief said.
Uppal said that the teams had found that air conditioning system, inverters and other necessary equipment like gas cutter, fire extinguishers etc were found non-functional or outdated in many ambulances. Even in some cases, the spare tyre was also missing. “Vehicle maintenance and hygiene was also poor in some ambulances. It was also observed that in most cases, drivers and paramedics were not wearing proper uniforms. Vehicles were eight to 10 years old besides medical equipment was also not replaced with new after a specific prescribed period,” he listed. Divulging more, Uppal said that the most important item, such as collapsible stretchers were not in working condition in most of the ambulances and even pulse Oxymeters were not working properly. “In addition, the lifesaving drugs and recovery kits were also not available in these vehicles”, he informed. “Only one oxygen cylinder was containing Oxygen and the second one was found empty in almost all the ambulances. Many vehicles were found without fitness certificates, insurance and pollution certificates. Even doors of some vehicles were not in proper condition,” he said. – Daily Pioneer