LAHORE: Ambulances at public hospitals coming up to the standards of Rescue 1122 will be taken over by the emergency service while the rest would remain with the hospitals, said Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Imran Nazir.
In a recent meeting with senior officials, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered all public hospitals of the province to hand over their ambulances to Rescue 1122.
Punjab Rescue 1122 and Punjab Health Department were told to prepare a comprehensive plan about the transition within seven days.
During the meeting, Shehbaz said efforts would be made to provide basic health facilities to all citizens.
He directed the health minister to pay surprise visits to public hospitals of the province.
The CM added a proper accountability mechanism should be established to improve the healthcare system.
He stated that a computerised system should be introduced in hospitals across the province to ensure the availability of medicines round-the-clock.
The provincial government recently sprang into action over health care reforms after the death of Zohra Bibi at a government hospital of Lahore. Shehbaz admitted to the failures and weaknesses of Punjab’s healthcare system, adding people were not provided with the treatment they were entitled to.
He said funds given to the health care system had not yielded any results.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the health minister said Shehbaz gave the approval to transfer public hospital ambulances to Rescue 1122 almost a month ago. He added the CM issued a seven-day deadline on Wednesday to prepare a comprehensive plan on the transition.
Officials, on the other hand, denied taking all the ambulances under control. Imran added that they have only agreed to take over the ambulances that come up to standards.
Around 550 ambulances of DHQs were in good condition and could be taken over by the Rescue 1122, he added.
To avoid the misuse of the vehicles, the health minister said trackers would be installed in all the DHQ ambulances.
He regretted the fact that Zohra Bibi, who died at the Jinnah Hospital, was referred to Lahore from Kasur without providing her an ambulance.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2017.