Mumbai: The district administration has decided to acquire ambulances and private vehicles for the immediate admission of coronary heart disease patients in the state. The government has announced a decision in this regard through the health department today. The acquired patient carrier vehicle will be used for non-critical patients.

As the number of coronavirus patients in the state is increasing, there is a need for ambulances to rush patients to the hospital. In order to increase the number of ambulances from hospitals and NGOs in the districts, it has been decided to use the private vehicle suppliers as patient transport vehicles.

During the COVID-19 period, there were complaints that patients were being charged exorbitant rates for private ambulances. Taking note of this, private ambulances and vehicles will be made available by fixing their rates while acquiring them. The acquired ambulances and vehicles will be available 24 hours a day. The process of acquiring ambulances will be carried out by the District Collector (excluding Municipal Areas) and Municipal Commissioners (in Municipal Areas), said Health Minister Rajesh Tope.

The rates of vehicles on fare basis should be fixed as per the rates fixed by the Regional Transport Authority. For this, vehicle fare and actual travel distance (kilometers) should be considered, the ruling government said.

These ambulances can be rented with the driver, along with the cost of fuel, or where the driver is not available, the ambulances can be rented on a monthly basis. They will be provided drivers by acquiring the services of drivers from local transport boards, state transport, driver supply companies, local administrations. The cost of fuel for the ambulances will be borne by the local administration.

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For asymptomatic and other patients, with the advice of medical officers, minor changes should be made in these 3 vehicles and they should be used as ambulance vehicles and the vehicles should be seized as required, said the Principal Secretary of the Health Department, Dr. Pradip Vyas.

Minimum rates for private ambulances and vehicles other than ambulances and vehicles acquired by the District Collector should be fixed by the Regional Transport Authority. An inspection mechanism will be set up to check whether private drivers are charging such rates.

District Collectors and Municipal Commissioners will set up mechanisms in their jurisdiction to redress the grievances of overcharging. Acquired ambulance will be available 24 hours a day. Ambulance will have smart phone, internet facility. The toll free 108 ambulance app will be connected to this number system. For ambulance contact, patients can call 108 or the control room set up by the local administration.