MUMBAI: Buoyed by the "exceptional" response to the free bike ambulance service in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government is now planning to raise the number of these vehicles in the city and run similar services in some tribal-dominated regions in the state, like Palghar.
The bike ambulance service, which was started in Mumbai in August last year with the objective of providing swift medical assistance to patients, has so far received around 1,500 calls from different parts of the metropolis.
Designed as an emergency first responder medical service, the bike ambulances, available through '108' free helpline, have teams of paramedics providing treatment, especially in places inaccessible to larger ambulances, to patients during the 'golden hour'.
These bike ambulances, currently 10 in strength, are operated by integrated services company BVG India. They are equipped with a medical kit, trauma medical management kit and airway management kit.
"From August last year till January 31 this year, the bike ambulance service has attended to 186 trauma cases, 28 pregnancy-related emergencies and 1,270 medical emergencies,"
an official of the company said.
Talking to PTI, State Health Minister Deepak Sawant said, "Keeping in mind the exceptional response this bike ambulance service has received in Mumbai, the government is planning to launch 30 additional ambulance bikes, out of which 10 will be used in Mumbai."
He said the maximum number of calls received for the service in Mumbai were from the areas that have narrow roads and areas near railway stations.
"It is difficult for a four-wheeler ambulance to go to hilly regions or reach the areas with narrow roads. But bike ambulances can reach such places easily. Therefore, apart from 10 new bikes in Mumbai, 20 such vehicles will be run in inaccessible places in Jawhar, Mokhada, Nandurbar and Melghat regions," he said.
The minister added that since the riders of these bikes are doctors themselves, they immediately start treating the patients, keeping the golden hour in mind.
"This increases the survival chances of the patients, who are in a critical state," Sawant said.
According to the minister, in Mumbai, the bike ambulances are operating in areas like Bhandup, Kurar, Malad, Charkop, Nagpada, Goregaon film city, Mankhurd, Dharavi police station, Khar police station, Thakur village in Kandivali and Kalina university campus in Santacruz.
"Immediate response is the key feature of this service as every second counts during the golden hour. With more bike ambulances, access to emergency care has improved in parts of Mumbai," Hanmantrao Gaikwad, Chairman and Managing Director of BVG India Ltd, said.