New Delhi: In a shocking revelations about the state of public health care in Delhi, there are only 23 working ambulances for 1.7 crore people and most of them work only between 8 am to 4 pm.
National Capital Delhi, India’s largest and most modern metropolis has just 35 centralised emergency ambulances to save its citizens’ lives and rescue them during disasters. And this isn’t the real shocker. Of these 35 ambulance, 12 are not functional for various reasons and just in case you thought this was bad enough for a city of 1.7 crore residents, here is some more. The Delhi government believes critical emergency needs can occur only between 8 am and 4 pm.
An RTI query has revealed that the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) purchased 31 of the 35 ambulances in 2010 from funds provided for Commonwealth Games. Only 20 of these 35 were fitted with life support systems. And 14 of these advanced ambulances operate only between 8 am and 4 pm.
While the government says 7 advance care ambulances work round the clock, their availability remains suspect.
When CNN IBN called the emergency number 102 in the evening, the request was turned down.
The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum threshold of one ambulance per 1.5 lakh people, meaning Delhi should have at least 115 functional ambulances at all hours but apart from the 35 CATS ambulances, 15 ambulances are attached to Delhi government hospitals and none of which work through the centralised number concept.
Ironically, 650 of Delhi Police Control Room cars meant for policing and not patient care are Delhi’s largest emergency care mechanism. In 2011, almost 18000 patients were rushed by such vans. From a high terror threat perception to being on a sensitive seismic zone, Delhi also witnesses 2000 road deaths each year and a nearly 70 per cent shortage of emergency ambulances, isn’t quite something the government can be proud of.