BHUBANESWAR: Police on Monday advocated for allowing government-run 108 ambulances to transport injured accident victims to nearby private hospitals to ensure their timely treatment. At present, the government ambulances take patients to only government hospitals and may later shift them to referral private hospitals, empanelled by the government.

“We usually find that the distance between many accident sites and government hospitals is very far. By the time the injured accident victims reach the government hospital, he or she may die. Though private hospitals lie en-route, government ambulances cannot take the patients to those healthcare centres. I recommend the government to ensure better coordination between government ambulance and private hospitals so that accident victims get immediate medical attention,” director of police R P Sharma told TOI during the closing ceremony of road safety week here.

State minister Sashi Bhusan Behera and transport minister Nrushingha Charan Sahu, who were present on the occasion, said they would certainly consider the DGP‘s recommendation. “Our intention is to minimise the road fatality rate which is quite worrisome in . We will see if government ambulances can shift accident victims to nearby private hospitals,” Sahu said. State transport commissioner Sanjeeb Panda said steps are being taken to produce skilled drivers and intensify crackdown on drink driving and other traffic violations.

Some transport authorities expressed their displeasure over the alleged neglect by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in installing signage boards along the highways at several places in the state.

Despite massive awareness campaigns on road safety, accident deaths increased by over 10% in 2018 compared to 2017. While 4,790 accident deaths were reported in the state in 2017, the casualty figure shot up to 5,315 last year. At least 10 deaths were reported at different places in separate road accidents during the road safety week that started on February 4.


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