Sardarpur patients paying exorbitant charges for private ambulances

Absence of govt ambulances cost residents dear

FP News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 09:06 PM IST
article-image
Ambulance | Representative Photo

Sardarpur (Madhya Pradesh): Case No 1: Sardarpur resident Dharmendra had a fracture in his waist after falling at his residence. When he went to Sardarpur Community Health Centre for treatment, doctors there asked him to get himself checked at the Dhar district hospital, but the non-availability of a government ambulance forced him to pay Rs 1,500 to a private ambulance operator to visit Dhar for treatment.

Case No 2: Two months ago, Ashok, a resident of Phulgawadi, had kidney problems. Suddenly, he had severe pain and doctors at the CHC asked him to visit a private hospital in Indore. Ashok had no other choice, but to go to Indore by paying Rs 4,000 for a private ambulance to get himself operated in Indore.

These are just two examples of how the tribals and other poor sections continue to face trouble in the absence of a road-worthy government ambulance at the Sardarpur development block of Dhar district despite the block having two well-equipped state-of-the-art ambulances on paper.

Villagers narrating their plight said many such incidents have occurred here in Sardarpur block as there is no vehicle for transportation of patients to and fro from a medical facility. This is because one of the ambulances attached to Sardarpur CHC is not in a condition to travel and another has been transferred to Dhar district hospital without the necessary formalities. These two ambulances were donated by Power Grid, Dhulet and Industry minister Rajyavardhan Singh Dattigaon respectively. The ambulance donated by the industry minister was equipped with emergency medical facilities.

According to information, this ambulance numbered MP 02 AV 7548 was provided one year ago, during the Covid-19 crisis. Five months ago, this new ambulance was transferred to Dhar District Hospital without informing the Patient Welfare Committee.

On the other hand, a total of seven private ambulances, including two Ecco Ambulances, three Maruti van ambulances and two tempo ambulances are operating in Sardarpur block. Accusing block medical officer (BMO) Dr Sheela Mujalda and other health department officials of ignoring their plight intentionally, many of the villagers claimed that it was nothing but a commission game. Villagers claimed that concerned officials created such a situation in the remote area so that patients and their families are left with no other option but to pay for a private ambulance. Private ambulance operators are charging exorbitant fares for taking patients to Dhar, Indore, Dahod and Baroda for treatment and in return, they are providing unethical benefits to the functionaries of the Community Health Center, villagers claimed.

Meanwhile, when contacted SDM Rahul Chauhan, he said that this matter was brought to his notice through the news published in the Free Press on July 06. But due to the engagement in Panchayat elections, no action has been taken on it so far.

SDM Chauhan added that he will investigate the matter after getting complete information about the status of the ambulances from the BMO.

On the other hand, attempts to contact CMHO Virendrasinh Raghuvanshi failed after repeated attempts as his phone was switched off. While BMO Sheela Mujalda claimed that there are sufficient ambulances in Sardarpur.

When contacted the state industries minister Rajyavardhan Singh Dattigaon admitted it is a grave matter and said that he has asked the Dhar district collector to check whether the new ambulance of Sardarpur has been attached to Bhoj Hospital in Dhar.

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