The Kerala government is studying a proposal to launch an app-based online ambulance-hailing service on the lines of taxi services like Uber and Ola. Kerala Medical Services Corporation, a state utility, has put forward this public-private partnership (PPP) proposal to improve the Kerala healthcare model. If the Uber-model ambulance service plan is implemented, the person in distress or his/her companion could summon an ambulance through an app in one’s mobile phone. The nearest available ambulance can be rushed to the distress spot.
The registration number of the ambulance and the phone number of the driver would be sent to the caller’s phone. “The state government has been studying all aspects of the innovative ambulance service plan,” Kerala health minister KK Shylaja confirmed, when contacted by FE. The concept is that private players, with some degree of professional expertise, will be roped in to run the ambulance service. The state government would pay the private partners for the state-of-the-art maintenance of the ambulances.
The Kerala Medical Services Corporation has mooted dipping into the state’s share of NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) funds, for investing in the ambulance infrastructure. Through civic bodies and public health institutions, NRHM provides funds under various categories like hospital management, ward health and sanitation committees through untied funds and annual maintenance grants.
The proposal has three components: One, private sector players can be ushered to improve the current system of 108 ambulance service. Two, a technically full-fledged call centre will be set up to coordinate the online ambulance service. Three, more ambulances should be bought to augment the fleet-strength. The Medical Services Corporation has offered to supervise the online ambulance plan.