Finally, Duty Time of 'Standby' Ambulance Drivers Reduced to 12 Hours
KOCHI: Giving a huge relief to the ambulance drivers of the government hospital who are on standby near the Nedumbassery airport, the District Collector has instructed the district medical officer (DMO) to reduce their working hours to 12 hours from 24 hours the DMO had instructed.
The decision came after the ‘Express’ published a report on the grievances of the ambulance drivers the other day. As instructed by the District Collector, DMO Dr Haseena Mohammed on August 5 issued a circular stating that the working hours of the ambulance drivers was cut down to 12 hours. The circular clearly stated that the drivers should use the masks provided by their respective hospitals.
The DMO also instructed the general manager of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) to make all the necessary arrangements, including food and accommodation, to the ambulance drivers.
The ambulance drivers have been deployed at the airport to pick up the passengers returning from Iraq who are afflicted with diseases.
The ambulance drivers are apprehensive that they could contract diseases as the government has not taken any precaution to ensure their safety.
They are forced to spend the night in the ambulances that are not even sterilised properly. They are not even provided masks. Their fear aggravated when the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Ebola started spreading.
“However, despite the circular and the instruction from the District Collector, the ambulance drivers who are on duty said they were not provided any assistance by the CIAL.
According to Government Drivers Association district president Biju K G, the ambulance drivers are a bit concerned as the CIAL authorities told them that they were yet to get any intimation on the matter.
“When the drivers approached the airport authorities, they were told that the airport officials were yet to get any intimation from the Collectorate and the DMO office,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DMO dismissed the claim of the CIAL, and said that she had sent the circular to the airport officials. “I have even called the medical officer at he airport the other day, and asked him to do follow up on the circular,” she said.
“They might have send a circular. But, to have a clear understanding of the the circumstances there should be a discussion with us. But, we will never deny any assistance to them, but will help them in every possible ways,” said Cochin International Airport Ltd director A C K Nair.