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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Health Department to roll out 262 new ambulances under ‘108 services’ today

The Health and Family Welfare Department of the State will roll out 262 new ambulances with modern medical facilities under ‘108’ ambulance service under the ‘Arogya Kavacha’ scheme on Thursday. With this, the number of 108 ambulances under the scheme has increased to 715.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Gundu Rao said there have been many glaring deficiencies in the operation of ambulances in the State and a team of senior officials and a technical committee had been formed to study the functioning of ambulances in other States.

The team has visited Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Punjab to study the services provided by ambulances and its impact on delivery of emergency services.

A report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (2020) too flagged many loopholes in the existing system of functioning of ambulances under the Arogya Kavacha scheme and said that absence of policy on positioning/location of ambulances under its ‘108’ service under the scheme and stationing of ambulances within the hospital premises and not within the vicinity of black spots (accident areas) impacted the delivery of emergency medical service (EMS).

The government entered into a pact with GVK-EMRI Group to provide ‘108’ ambulance service in the State.

Mr. Rao said the government has been providing all support to the GVK-EMRI Group but services have not been up to the mark. Based on the reports given by officials and the technical team, he said a new policy would be formulated and a decision would be taken on renewal or non-renewal of services of GVK-EMRI Group. The policy has not been renewed since 2008, he said.

He said 46 new dialysis centres have been established in taluks and these are single-use machines. Now, the total number of dialysis centres has increased to 219.

Under the Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka (ABAK) scheme, the Minister said medical rates of treatment for diseases in private hospitals would be increased after discussions with the Chief Minister. Currently, many private hospitals deny patients citing less medical charges fixed by the government. The government has been spending close to ₹1,250 crore for providing treatment to families belonging to the BPL category in private hospitals. Currently, 3,483 hospitals of both private and government have been empanelled under the scheme.

Dept. to seek police aid to crackdown on illegal abortions

Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dinesh Gundu Rao on Wednesday said the Health Department would work in coordination with the police to crackdown on illegal abortions in private hospitals/clinics in the State.

Mr. Rao said the Health Commissioner has been asked to seek reports from the District Health Officers of Mandya and Mysuru and take suitable action related to illegal abortions in both districts.

A few days ago, the Bengaluru police arrested a doctor and his lab technician who allegedly performed around 900 illegal abortions in the last three years. Chandan Ballal and lab technician Nisar allegedly charged around ₹30,000 for each abortion which they carried out at a hospital in Mysuru. They were taken into custody last week.

The Minister said awareness needs to be created on the punishment given for illegal abortions under the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act.

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