RAWALPINDI: Four of Benazir Bhutto Hospital’s (BBH) advanced life support ambulances are being used for VIP duties.

Last year, the hospital administration had bought four advanced life support ambulances for transporting patients, which were later assigned for VIP duties.

The ambulances are included in the president’s and prime minister’s convoys for the airport.

A senior BBH doctor told Dawn each ambulance was equipped with a ventilator and other life support systems required for transporting critical patients. He said the ambulances were meant to take critical patients for MRI tests in other hospitals or to move them to other hospitals.

He said these ambulances are now used on VIP duty and that the hospital administration calls Rescue 1122 to transport critical patients. More than Rs1 million was spent on the procurement of the ambulances which has gone to waste, he said.

Patients’ attendants are asked to arrange ambulances when these are parked in the hospital premises

In the last month, patients’ attendants are asked to make arrangements for ambulances to bring patients to Holy Family Hospital (HFH) for MRI tests, even though the advanced life support ambulances are parked in the hospital premises and are not being used.

Young Doctors Association Punjab former chairman Dr Haider Akhtar said the ambulances should be used for transporting patients and not for VIP duties.

“The total budget for the hospital’s medicine is Rs2 million to Rs2.5 million annually and instead of purchasing more ambulances, the money should be used for providing free medicines,” he said.

A senior BBH official said the new ambulances were parked in the hospital premises because their registration process has not been completed yet.

The process will be completed after they are checked by a motor vehicle examiner and the ambulances will then be used for transporting patients, he said.

However, he neither accepted nor denied that the ambulances are used for VIP duties.

On the other hand, he said, the hospital administration is planning to use the ambulance for transporting critical gynae patients from the filter clinic at Committee Chowk to BBH.

“The hospital’s ambulances were given to Rescue 1122 and these ambulances were not because they were purchased under the annual development program of the Punjab government for critical patients,” he said.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2019

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