The Dial 108 ambulance service has proven to be a crucial lifeline for the citizens of the state. Currently, 937 ambulances operate across various regions under the Dial 108 services, and there are plans to increase this number to 1,756, as shared by an official in Pune.
In a bid to enhance emergency response capabilities, 36 new boat ambulances will be strategically stationed at accident-prone beaches and riverbeds. Additionally, 25 ambulances dedicated to newborns will be introduced, addressing specific medical needs.
This expansion is expected to substantially reduce response times, ensuring quicker assistance during emergencies.
Initially launched a decade ago through a tender that covered all capital expenditures by the government, the revised tender now places 51% of the capital expenditure responsibility on the service provider, and this arrangement extends for ten years.
Presently, the government incurs a monthly expenditure of ₹33 crore for the existing fleet of ambulances. With the proposed addition of more ambulances, this monthly cost is projected to rise to ₹63 crore.
The Dial 108 project was inaugurated on January 26, 2014, by the National Health Mission and operated by BVG India Ltd, with the aim of reducing mortality and morbidity by providing free prehospital care during medical emergencies.
Accessible through the toll-free number 108 all over the state, its centralised control room is based in Pune. The control room, also known as the Emergency Response Centre, plays a pivotal role in coordinating timely responses by taking down the necessary information, including the name, address, and medical information of the patient from the caller, and dispatching the nearest ambulance to the concerned patient. The centre operates 24x7, manned by over 200 trained personnel.