Andhra govt hires over 1,350 ambulances to cope with COVID-19 workload

Amaravati: Over 1,350 ambulances have been hired by the Andhra Pradesh government in 13 districts to cope with the increased COVID-19 workload, a statement from the state health department said on Tuesday.

These ambulances will be used to transport COVID positive patients from one hospital to another or, from the patient’s residence to a hospital or COVID Care Centre.

“It is mandatory for collectors to hire at least two additional ambulances per Mandal. If necessary, collectors have been given the right to hire as many as needed, depending on the workload. In certain Mandals, even 5-6 additional ambulances have been hired in order to provide better services to the citizens,” it added.

These ambulances will help the authorities to implement the recently introduced ‘referral system’ for hospitals. According to this, the hospital referring the patient will have to arrange for an ambulance to transport the patient apart from informing the hospital it has referred the patient to.

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In order to ensure smooth functioning of the introduced system, a call centre has been set up in each Mandal. Local health workers, doctors, and hospitals have been informed of the recent set-up call centre to avail of the ambulance services.

Bhaskar Katamneni, Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare said, “We already have ‘108’ ambulance per Mandal but due to the increased workload and an attempt to decentralise the health system further, the districts have been instructed to hire at least 2 additional ambulances per Mandal exclusively for the transport of COVID positive patients. While the minimum number of ambulances to be hired is 2 per Mandal, there is no upper limit. The districts have been given the right to hire as many as needed.”

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