Believe it or not, many of the ambulances operating under 108 telephone facility across Punjab not only lack life saving drugs and recovery kits, but also use outdated medical equipments.

In a surprise checking of ambulances conducted by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB), it was found that eight to ten-year-old ambulances were in use and the medical equipment in them was also not replaced with new after a specific prescribed period.

Disclosing this on Friday, chief director-cum-additional director general of police (ADGP), VB, BK Uppal said vehicle maintenance and hygiene was also poor in some ambulances.

He said that the VB teams had found that air conditioning system, inverters and other necessary equipment like gas cutter, fire extinguishers etc were found non-functional or outdated in many ambulances, even in some cases the spare tyre was also missing.

Vehicle maintenance and hygiene was also poor in some ambulances. It was also observed that in most cases, drivers and paramedics were not wearing proper uniforms.

Uppal said the most important item, such as collapsible stretchers were not in working condition in most of the ambulances and even pulse Oxymeters were not working properly. “In addition, the life saving drugs and recovery kits were also not available in these vehicles,” he informed.

Uppal further revealed that only one oxygen cylinder was containing Oxygen and the second cylinder was found empty in almost all the ambulances.

Many vehicles were found without fitness certificates, insurance and pollution certificates. Even doors of some vehicles were not in proper condition and were found with problems such as ‘rooftop leakage’. The vigilance chief said the Bureau had been receiving complaints about the poor conditions of these ambulances at some places, therefore decided to conduct a state-wide surprise checking.

He further informed during this special drive the teams inspected the condition of the vehicles along with specified equipments installed and other instructions for the staff deputed with these ambulances.

Only off road ambulances were inspected during this drive, added Uppal. He further informed that the Bureau had roped in officials from health department to check all ambulances thoroughly.

Taking a serious note of various irregularities, a detailed report would be sent to the health department to improve the 108 Ambulance service in the state, the vigilance chief said.

Taking a serious note of all the shortcomings, the vigilance bureau recommended the service providers to wash the ambulances properly after ferrying each patient.