Emergency Ambulance Service Phase-II to be launched in June

Published : 9:10 am  May 10, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yoshitha Perera 

The free emergency ambulance service with the code number 1990 implemented in the Western and Southern provinces last July and the phase two of the project will be expanded soon to other seven provinces as well.   
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Deputy Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva explained its objectives and benefits.   

Project Background

“This is the biggest satisfaction that I get. This is something that people will love and this is something that helps to save lives. This is free from politics and this project is a pure public service,” he said.   

Stating the background of the project Dr. Harsha said that the venture was in his mind around five years ago when a very close friend of him met with a crucial accident in Kantale. “There was no proper way of taking my friend to the hospital and on that day I thought, if we had formed a government, the first thing I would have done was introduced a pre-hospital care ambulance service to the country,” he said.   

Minister said that the project was a grant from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Singh Modi and the Indian government gave 7.5 million dollars grant to implement the first phase of the project.

25424“We started the project last July and we got technical assistance from a company named ‘GVKMRI’ who runs India’s 108 ambulance service. To mark the first phase, we launched the project in Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Kalutara, Gampaha and Colombo,” Minister said.   

Minister said that the main commanded control centre had setup in Rajagiriya and the project had started with 88 ambulances.   

“There were various oppositions when we started the project. I would like to give my appreciation to my friend Duminda Ratnayake who has provided with the assistance to create the project,” he highlighted.   

Minister emphasized that the officials wanted the ambulances to be parked in the hospitals and certain people including Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) had protested and made various bad accusations claiming that this was an intelligence project from India.   

“Certain people protested when we were trying to park the ambulances at hospitals and then we decided to park them at Police stations. That was the best decision we made because most of the emergency calls comes to the Police station,” Minister said.   

He said that most Police stations had provided various facilities such as parking space, a place where employees can rest and to use common amenities.   

“We have the most efficient call centre in Sri Lanka and currently 88 ambulances are operating in the six districts. Up to now, we had received 538,479 calls and we had received 70,479 emergency admissions. The worst day for us was the Sinhala and Tamil New Year day and we had received almost 51 emergency cases due to various accidents,” he said.   

Minister said that the service had employed 538 local employees and currently two technical experts from India are providing their assistance to handle the service. He also said that the average response time is 12:58 minutes and they are trying to reduce that time.   



Expansion of Phase-II

Dr. Harsha said that through the Foreign Ministry he has requested the Indian Prime Minister seeking support to expand the service island wide and the Indian government had granted another 15 million dollars grant to expand the project.   

“Indian government also promised us another 4 million dollars grant to build a command control centre and training facilities in Rajagiriya. We have also ordered another 209 ambulances and these ambulances will start operating from mid-June,” he said.   

Minister said that in the second phase, they would hire another 1300 more local staff to the service and they are employing students who have done biology or nursing training to the service. He also said that a special training will be given in Hyderabad for the staff who recruited as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT).