Code to set standards for ambulance to come up soon

India will soon have service standards for ambulance. The Ministry of Road and Transport has proposed a National Ambulance Code.

At present, there are no set standards and quotations by different authorities to place different demands. “There is an urgent need to standardise minimum national specifications for various types of ambulances, rescue vehicles, and command and control centres so as to bring homogeneity in the system across the country,” said Dr Shakti Gupta, medical superintendent, Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Center (JPNATC), AIIMS.

He was speaking at the International Congress on Emergency Medical Service Systems-EMS 2012 organised by the Department of Hospital Administration (DHA), AIIMS. 
The speakers at the conference noted the real concept of an ambulance is missing in India. Existing ambulances are more like transport vehicles and any vehicle suitable to carry a patient is termed an “ambulance” which is inadequately equipped. The National Ambulance Code, which has been prepared with inputs from DHA, AIIMS, will define the specifications for an ambulance. 
The specifications will include the length of the space in a vehicle, a chair close to patient’s head for a doctor and equipments for basic life support on the left hand side of the doctor.
The need for ambulances and other emergency systems arises due to many factors. The casualties in road accidents in the country increased by 7.3 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008. There is one road accident every minute; a life is lost every four minutes. The global status report on road safety reveals an estimated two million people in India have a disability that resulted from a road mishap.
The National Health Profile of India 2009 lists injury as the third leading cause of death in India. Further, in 2009 alone, 1, 08,409 males and 18,487 females were killed in road accidents.  Dr M C Misra, Chief, JPNATC noted that the long pending proposal of a helipad at the trauma centre will be cleared soon.
“AIIMS trauma centre falls in high security area. The proposal is moving and once we have the helipad, we can get critically ill patients by air directly to the trauma centre,” said Dr Misra.

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