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Opinion war stalls ambulance service

The difference of opinion between the financial adviser and the doctors of AIIMS-Patna on equipment procurement for the recently purchased ambulances is delaying the launch of the service.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)-Patna director G.K. Singh said the institution procured two state-of-the-art ambulances two months ago but both were lying idle at the health hub for want of equipment.

Sources said AIIMS-Patna bought ambulances at Rs 12 lakh each.

At present, the ambulances don’t have a single equipment but drivers have been already deputed.

Singh added that while at one hand doctors of the health hub wanted the administration to purchase the necessary equipment for the ambulances without following the tender process as it would save time and also prevent compromise on the quality of the equipment, Anant Prakash, the financial adviser of the health hub was not giving permission for the purchase of equipment without following the tendering process.

“There’s a war-like situation between the financial advisor and the doctors of the hospital over the procurement of equipment for the two ambulances. Doctors don’t want the equipment to be bought following the tender process because it would be a time-consuming affair. AIIMS-Patna is facing problems because of the delay in the procurement of the necessary equipment, which are being purchased following the tender process by a private firm engaged in the task. So, doctors don’t want the same to happen with life-saving ambulances. According to most of the doctors, if equipment for both the ambulances are bought following the tender rule, there would be a compromise on the quality of equipment because according to the tender norm, the contract would be awarded to the lowest bidder who might compromise on the quality of equipment while buying them,” said director G.K. Singh.

Financial adviser Anant Prakash, however, denied having any disagreement with the doctors over the procurement of machines for the new ambulances.

Sources said AIIMS-Patna has big plans for its ambulance service, which might get a jolt if any compromise is made on the part of buying equipment for the ambulances. The health hub has developed a mobile application Sankat Sanket that can help people seek medical assistance from the hospital during emergencies. Anybody can download the application from the AIIMS-Patna website (www.aiimspatna.org) in an Android-driven cellphone. The application has options like “ I am in danger, I need help”.

When one chooses an option, the AIIMS receives a message. The plan is to send an ambulance to the affected person as soon as AIIMS receives the message.

“The mobile application is available on the AIIMS-Patna website and many residents have downloaded the application. But how can we help the person in his/her medical emergency, when its ambulance service is not functional?” asked a senior AIIMS doctor.

The director also supported the doctor’s stand that equipment for the recently bought ambulances needed to be bought without following the tendering process.

“For example, we want specialised instruments such as web camera so that even if the patient has not reached AIIMS, we can monitor his/her condition. We want to equip our ambulances with advanced equipment but if we go by the tender norms, we won’t get every equipment and there would be a compromise on quality. The problem is that technical people (read the financial adviser) won’t be able to understand our needs,” added Singh.

¯He said that the health hub would wait for the final call of the financial adviser.

“If we decide on buying equipment on our own and if any problem arises in the future then we would land in trouble. We don’t want this. So, we are waiting for the approval of the financial adviser .”


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