CHANDIGARH: Ambulances meant to transport patients in cases of medical emergencies in Punjab are themselves in a pathetic state, the state Vigilance Bureau said on Friday.
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB), assisted by medical teams, conducted surprise checks of ambulances operating under 'Dial 108' scheme across the state and found that medical equipment to handle emergencies and other facilities were non-existent or non-functional in the ambulances.
Under Emergency Response Services, the 'Dial 108' ambulance can be called in case of medical emergency by dialing the number. It is currently available in 22 states.
Vigilance Bureau Chief Director-cum-ADGP B.K. Uppal said that the bureau had received complaints about poor condition of these ambulances at some places, following which it had planned a statewide check.
Uppal said that air-conditioning, inverters and other equipment like gas cutters and fire extinguishers on many ambulances were found non-functional or outdated. In some cases, spare tyres were missing.
"Maintenance and hygiene was also poor in some ambulances. It was observed that in most cases, drivers and paramedics were not wearing proper uniforms. Vehicles were 8-10 years old and medical equipment was also not replaced after the prescribed period," Uppal pointed out.
He said that in most cases, collapsible stretchers were not found in working condition. Even pulse oxymeters were not working properly. Only one oxygen cylinder was filled while the second was found empty on almost all ambulances.
"Life-saving drugs and recovery kits were also not available in these vehicles," the ADGP said.
"Many vehicles were without fitness, insurance and pollution certificates. Even doors of some vehicles were not in proper condition and had problems like roof leaks," he added.
Uppal said that a detailed report would be sent to the Health Department to improve the '108' ambulance service in the state.