As of May 21, around 7,647 patients have benefited from the service.

Minister KN Nehru inaugurating the car ambulance service in Chennai
news Coronavirus Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 16:43

A new system in Chennai is helping coronavirus patients receive quick access to transportation to health centres. The Chennai Corporation’s “car ambulance service” is available to patients in home quarantine who send at SOS to zonal-level volunteers, after which the next free vehicle is rushed to them. The patient is then shifted to the corporation’s screening centers for a health examination and then to COVID care centers or Government Hospitals depending on their conditions. More and more patients every day are taking advantage of the city’s latest service. 

These car-ambulances are created using private cars and adding beds inside them for patients. Until now, the corporation has set up 250 such vehicles to help patients commute from homes to hospitals. As per the data released by Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gangandeep Singh Bedi, 7,647 patients have received the benefit of the service as of May 21.

The service is aimed at reducing the wait time for 108 ambulance services, and will soon also help with oxygen as well, as per officials. GCC Deputy Commissioner Health Alby John Varghese said, “We are planning on extending the service directly to the people like ‘108 ambulance service.’ However, now we are attending patients based on their distress calls to the zonal team.”

“Currently, we have a call center at Rippon Building. From the call centers, we are regularly checking on the health condition of the patients. The novel coronavirus patients also have our numbers. So once we find out about the difficulty they are facing, we attend immediately,” he said.

The Deputy Commissioner Health said, “We are also helping patients travel from screening centers to hospitals or COVID care centers. We are making optimal use of the service and we will increase the fleet if needed.”

Private taxis

The Tamilnadu Independent Rental Vehicle Owners Association has joined hands with SWOTT-Covid relief force to transport novel coronavirus patients to the hospitals. If the government agrees to the services, the association said they are ready to provide more than 1300 car ambulances across Tamil Nadu. A few rental taxi drivers have already converted some of their vehicles into ambulances by changing the seats into beds with oxygen availability to help patients in distress. 

Jade Mathew, General Secretary of Tamilnadu Independent Rental Vehicle Owners Association said, “We have met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and have requested him to include us along with their service. Till then, we are running around 25 ambulances with oxygen to help the patients reach the hospital.”

“Each car ambulance attends 10-12 patients regularly and provides service free of cost to ferry patients to government hospitals,” he said.

However, Jade Mathew said, “We can attend more patients if we join hands with the government since many patients are waiting for several hours without knowing anything about the availability of beds. So, if we work with the government, we can divert them to hospitals based on availability.”  

“We can also easily create more car ambulances with oxygen, since as a private team, we are unable to increase our service due to the limited availability of oxygen cylinders and stretchers,” he added.

When asked about adding private players to Chennai Corporation’s ambulance service, DC Health said, “We will check that too.”

For car ambulance through Tamilnadu Independent Rental Vehicle Owners Association contact: 9092996999, 9362222786 

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