These ambulances will be used to transport Covid patients from one hospital to another or from their house to a hospital or Covid care centre, officials said on Tuesday.
The authorities have made it mandatory for district collectors to hire at least two additional ambulances in every mandal (a cluster of villages). The collectors have been authorised 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.
These ambulances will help the authorities implement the recently introduced ‘referral system’ under which the hospital referring the patient will have to arrange for an ambulance to transport the patient apart from informing the receiving hospital. To ensure smooth functioning, a call centre has been set up in every mandal. The local health workers, doctors and hospitals have been given the call centre number using which they could call for an ambulance.
“We already have one 108 ambulance in every mandal but due to the increased workload, in an attempt to decentralise things further, the districts have been instructed to hire at least two additional ambulances per mandal exclusively for transporting Covid positive persons. These aren’t critical patients. While the minimum is two per mandal, there is no upper limit. Districts have been given the right to hire as many as needed,” said Kattamaneni Bhaskar, Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare.
With over 4.34 lakh Covid cases, Andhra Pradesh has become the second worst affected state in the country after Maharashtra. As of Monday, the number of fatalities in Andhra stood at 3,969.
For the last six days, the state has been adding over 10,000 cases every day and also reporting a daily death rate of 85-90.