GPS-fitted ambulances to hit roads in J&K by December end

Ambulances equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) will hit the roads in J&K by end of this month with officials claiming the service will help in ferrying trauma cases and critical-ill patients to hospital on time.

An official said necessary modifications were being carried out to a fleet of 116 ambulances to equip them with the GPS trackers. The trial service of some of these ambulances is being carried out at Jammu.

The Director, Health Services Kashmir, Dr Sameer Mattoo said the arrangements were being finalised to start the service.

“The service will likely be started by the end of this month. Ambulance will now be a call away to ferry the patients to hospital,’ said Dr Mattoo.

A doctor said the move will help save the patient’s “golden hour” for timely treatment.

The doctor said it has been witnessed that many a times the trauma cases do not reach the hospital during the “golden hour” and results in deterioration of the condition of a patient.

“Such a situation put a patient at a serious risk,” the doctor said. “This new service will help in timely intervention from the medical side for saving precious lives.”

For availing the service, the caller has to dial toll free numbers – 102 or 108 following which an ambulance will reach the identified place to take patient to hospital.

“If there is a road accident or a person suffers heart attack or a medical emergency arises, any person nearer to the patient can call on these numbers,” said Riyaz Ahmad Khan, in charge state health transport organization. “An ambulance will reach the patient within 20 minutes in urban areas and 30 minutes in rural areas.”

Officials said all ambulances equipped with GPS trackers are connected to a control room set up in Jammu. An ambulance nearest from a base station or en-route will be tracked and alerted to pick up the patient.

Authorities at the health department have set up base location across J&K at identified places including district and sub-district hospitals, CHCs and some selected PHCs.

The 116 ambulances to be fitted with the modern technology include advanced life supported (ALS) ambulances and basic life system (BLS) ambulances. At least 55 ambulances will be kept available in Kashmir, 58 ambulances in Jammu and four to five ambulances in Ladakh.