Hospital-on-wheels remains grounded in Navi Mumbai

The Floating Advance Casualty Complex was inaugurated in September to provide quick treatment to road accident victims; two months later, the two ambulances are yet to move a single inch from their parking lot in a Vashi hospital

Two months after the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) inaugurated two ‘hospitals-on-wheels’ to treat road accident victims right at the accident spot, the specially equipped ambulances are yet to be put to use. What’s worse is that accidents, especially on Palm Beach Road, continue to claim lives and cause serious injuries.

The two ambulances were supposed to be stationed on Palm Beach Road and Thane-Belapur Road. The former saw 4 fatal cases and 20 serious cases last year. This year, till October five fatal accidents and 17 serious cases have been observed
The two ambulances were supposed to be stationed on Palm Beach Road and Thane-Belapur Road. The former saw 4 fatal cases and 20 serious cases last year. This year, till October five fatal accidents and 17 serious cases have been observed

In September, NMMC had launched the Floating Advance Casualty Complex (FACC), a mobile hospital to treat road accident victims across the satellite city. As part of the project, civic body had launched a 12-metre long bus and a smaller Traveller ambulance. These vehicles are equipped with X-ray machines, ultrasonography machines, a ventilator and other basic medical equipment including diagnostic equipment and medical monitors. Civic officials had then said that the service would start within 15 days. But, the vehicles are languishing at the parking lot of Sterling Wockhardt Hospital in Vashi.

NMMC is blaming the delay on what they call is an “issue in the agreement”. However, a senior doctor at the hospital blamed the civic authority for their lack of will in running the service. Dr Prakash Kasbekar, surgeon at Sterling Hospitals and in-charge of the technology used in the ambulance, said, “When NMMC had called for tenders for the service, there were no takers. When I applied for the tender, the civic body never questioned me, nor did they express any disagreement. However, after the inauguration the civic commissioner demanded a few changes in the agreement, which were not sensible.”

The municipal commissioner wanted the ambulance to be also used for providing OPD services in the city. But Dr Kasbekar pointed out that if an accident were to take place during this period, the whole purpose of the ambulance would be lost.

Costing a total of R64 lakh, the two vehicles were supposed to be stationed on Palm Beach Road and Thane-Belapur Road. Last year, over 45 accidents occurred on the 12-km Palm Beach road, including 4 fatal incidents and 20 serious cases. The stretch has seen 25 accidents till the month of October this year, five of which were fatal and 17 serious in nature.

According to data released by the Navi Mumbai Traffic police, over 1,259 road accidents took place in the satellite city this year till October. This is an average of four accidents every day.

NMMCspeak
When asked about the issue, A L Jarhad, NMMC commissioner, said, “The entire matter is looked after by the health department. I am not the right person to comment on it.”

NMMC health officer Deepak Paropkari simply said, “The service has not been started due to some problem in the agreement,” and refused to comment further.

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