Munnar: The lack of ambulances with first aid facilities has become a big hurdle in providing fast treatment to accident victims and critical patients.
Last week, Aattukad native Dinesh, who met with an accident at Pallivasal and received serious injuries, had to wait for four hours for an ambulance to arrive. The youth had to endure severe pain till the ambulance arrived from Pala.
Five years ago, the village health mission under the health department had approved an ambulance with all necessary facilities. However, the ambulance service came to an end after two months.
The area has few treatment facilities and accidents are common. The Tata hospital is the only facility available here during an emergency. But, since it doesn't have advanced facilities, it usually refers critical patients to other hospitals.
Though ordinary ambulance services are available here, if there is a need for one with ICU facilities, ambulances will have to come from Thodupuzha, Moovattupuzha or Kochi. This will take a minimum of three hours. Another three hours will be required to take them to specialty hospitals.
The ICU ambulances also charge high fees for coming to the area. There are allegations that the ICU ambulances are charging the double of ordinary ones and it involves a commission too. The ambulances that come to Munnar are usually owned by private people and associations. Some ambulances charge as high as Rs 20,000 for a trip to Kochi.