Monopoly of ambulance drivers

Published On: November 12, 2018 07:34 AM NPT By: Narahari Sapkota

Patients taken to hospital in CDO's vehicle

GORKHA, Nov 12: There are 25 ambulances operating in Gorkha but none is available for emergency services, thanks to the monopoly of drivers. On Saturday, 21 people were injured when a passenger bus en route to Gorkha from Abukhaireni met with an accident. Locals and relatives started looking for ambulances to carry the injured to the hospital. Sadly, they could find none. 

Taxis and private vehicles carried the injured to the District Hospital. As there were too many patients already, the District Hospital referred some of the injured to another hospital. 

But, unfortunately, there was no ambulance to carry the injured to another hospital. At last, the injured were carried to Apollo Hospital in the vehicle of Chief District Officer (CDO) Narayan Bhattarai who had reached the hospital to meet the injured. Gorkha Hospital, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nepal Red Cross Society, Ama Ba Hospital, among others, are operating around two dozen ambulances in the district. Most of the them are centered in the district headquarters.

After failing to find ambulances to carry the injured, locals vented their ire and released their frustration on the hospital premises. Govardhan Shrestha of Gorkha Municipality-6 said, "We may need an ambulance any time. Drivers need to be sensible and the administration should be able to take action against them when they err."

The same day, one of the youths had sustained serious injuries after falling from the roof of a house.  He had to wait for two hours for an ambulance. Most of the drivers had taken the ambulances to their homes for Tihar. While some had switched off their mobile phones, some told that they were out of the district.

However, this is not the first time ambulance drivers have shown their monopoly. CDO Bhattarai who was present in the hospital for an hour is very much aware about the situation. "I have called a meeting of the ambulances operating committee on Monday," said CDO Bhattarai, adding, "Ambulances must prioritize service instead of money."

According to him, the meeting will formulate some policies regarding the operation of ambulances.

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