To help save lives of road accident victims by taking them to nearby hospitals as quickly as possible, the West Bengal government will soon start a free-ambulance service, a senior official of the state health department said on Monday.
Starting with at least 150 ambulances, the state government is at the moment setting up a detailed map of the accident prone zones and the nearby hospitals, he said.
This service will primarily work on the GPS system and for the same, the state government will have to bear a cost of around Rs 30 crore, the official said.
"This will definitely help us in saving the lives of road accident victims. We are targeting to take the victims to nearby hospitals or medical colleges or trauma care centre within 15 to 20 minutes after getting calls regarding the accident. This is in a planning stage and we are dying to start it as soon as possible," he told PTI.
There will be two types of ambulances basic life support ambulances and the advance life support ambulances, he said, adding that a toll free number will be given.
The Health department is in talks with the Public Works Department (PWD), police and the transport department, he said.
"The police and the transport department have been asked to provide details of the accident prone areas in the state depending on which the PWD department will be preparing a map on the accident prone zones here for this kind of ambulance services," he said.
The map ''Trauma care ambulance mappings'' besides having markings of the accident prone zones will be pinning on the nearby hospitals.
The health department is also mulling the option of hiring ambulances from private operators, he said.
"This will help us in cutting down in the budget," the official said.
Asked whether private hospitals will also be enrolled for the services, the bureaucrat said that at the moment the department has concentrated on including those run by the state government.
"Thats also in our mind. It's not that we have not spoken to them. But you will see that most of the best private hospitals are in and around the city. Anyway, we will see that option once this initiative is rolled out," he added.