Ambulance shortage hampers health services

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

The Provincial Health Ministers have informed Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena that a shortage of ambulances hampers the provision of health service to the public.

The Health Ministry said that the provincial health ministers had recently met Minister Sirisena to discuss matters concerning the health service.

Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka told The Island that the provincial health ministers had brought to Minister Sirisena’s notice that the insufficient numbers of the ambulances, the hospitals were faced with the problem of transferring patients to the other hospitals. As the non-communicable diseases were on the rise, heart, diabetic and accidents patients and accident victims had to be given priority treatment, they had said.

He pointed out that to resolve the issue, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would provide 124 ambulances and the Finance Ministry would supply 250 vehicles by next year. The cost would be around Rs. 2,767 million. With the addition of 347 ambulances about 90 per cent of the shortage could be sorted out, he said.

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