VEHARI-Private ambulances fleece patients and their attendants with over tenfold increased fares as the profession has become more profitable than any other transport business.
The District Headquarters Hospital of Vehari is a big hospital having all the departments regarding health issues with more than 200 patients daily visiting the hospital. For all these patients, DHQ Hospital has only five ambulances which are working for the emergency patients.
Sources said that it is not easy task for the patients to avail the facility of ambulance because of tough and complicated documentations. People came from villages and do not know how to write an application in critical situation to the medical superintendent for ambulance and do not know about the procedure when medical superintendent do not allow ambulance due to shortage of fuel or vehicles and without proper reason.
In such situation, some private opportunists offer ambulance facility at more than tenfold fare than the government ambulance charges. The DHQ ambulance charges two rupees per kilometre from the patients though they do not have proper oxygen cylinders and other facilities. The DHQ Hospital spokesman said that the government ambulances are working well as the government gives subsidy on fuel in the favour of patients. Patients including Nazeer Ahmad, Basher Ali, Shahida Nasreen at the hospital said that the ambulances available at the hospital do not work properly nor have proper facilities like oxygen cylinders and facing maintenance issues.
“We don’t want to take the risk of life for our family after travel on these ambulances so we have to pay high charges for private ambulance which is recommended by hospital official who get their commission from ambulance owner. This is a mafia who is playing with the compulsions of the patients for making money. The mafia also includes some doctors, dispensers, and other hospital officials who earn thousands of rupees on monthly basis. The patients demanded that the district administration should take proper action against the opportunists after complete investigation.