January 14, 2014
WB Govt to launch air ambulance services soon
The Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool government on Monday urged private hospitals in the city to use the recently-launched chopper service to ferry patients who fail to reach the city from districts and neighbouring states during an emergency because of transportation problems.
At a meeting with representatives of 11 private hospitals, transport minister Madan Mitra appealed to them to book flying hours in advance so that the air ambulance service could be made available to patients.
Apollo Gleneagles, BM Birla Heart Research Centre, Belle Vue, Peerless and Woodlands are among the hospitals that had sent officials to the meeting. The hospitals have been asked to get back to the government on the proposal within 15 days.
“We requested the hospitals to avail themselves of the chopper service so that the culture of flying in critical patients from distant areas for rendering advanced health care catches up in the state,” the minister said. “We want to start the service with a hospital booking at least three-four hours a month.”
On the directions of WB CM Ms. Mamata Banerjee, the government has recently started chopper service to some prominent destinations in the districts, such as Ganga Sagar, Santiniketan, Durgapur, Malda and Balurghat.
The transport department has tied up with Pawan Hans, a public sector company, for running the service. The helicopters take off from the Behala Flying Club. Pawan Hans is also slated to provide helicopters especially equipped with emergency medical gadgets and drugs to fly critical patients.
At the meeting, Mitra proposed setting up air-ambulance base at two places — Behala Flying Club for hospitals in Alipore and other parts of south Calcutta, and Salt Lake stadium for those off the Bypass.
The government has told the hospitals that each flying hour might cost a patient around Rs 2 lakh. “But there will be subsidy and a patient’s family can opt for the facility by paying Rs 1.25 lakh. That’s the initial offering,” said a transport department official.
Undoubtedly, this humane decision by the WB Govt will touch the lives of many people in dire need of medical services.