Himachal Pradesh Health and Family Welfare Minister, Vipin Singh Parmar on Wednesday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has set the ball rolling to fill the existing gaps in health sector in the state.

“We are streamlining whatever, we have got in legacy. We have put many things in the process and have taken several significant steps in the health sector. We will get the results in the days to come,” Parmar said.

Three-time MLA and first-time minister, Parmar was talking to media persons on the performance of health, medical education and Ayurveda departments held by him on completion of six months rule of government today. He said out of 2,224 sanctioned posts of doctors in the health department, 1,804 are filled.

“Immediately as we took over, we started process and filled 289 vacancies of doctors. We also sent 52 dental doctors to the Community Health Centres (CHCs). We are filling up 200 posts of Ayurveda doctors as well,” he said.

He said the health department has sent a proposal to the HP Subordinate Services Selection Board (HPSSB) for filling up of 1,100 posts of paramedics as they were equally important. He said 824 posts of nurses are also being filled.

The minister said seven medical colleges, six in government sector, are there in Himachal, which will increase the availability of doctors in times to come.

He said the process for various appointments in Government Medical University at Ner Chowk Mandi has started. “We have constituted search committee for appointment of Vice Chancellor and the posts of Registrar and Comptroller are also being filled.

Once in place, the varsity will take care of the medical colleges. From next year, the counselling for medical colleges will be taken up by the medical university,” he said.

Parmar referred to the ‘Mukhya Mantri Dekhbhal Yojana’, which was given nod by the cabinet on Tuesday, will help the poor people, for whom treatment of critical illness is out of reach even after some financial support by government.

“With the Ayushman Bharat initiative, the beneficiaries of existing health schemes in Himachal will start getting cashless assistance up to Rs Five Lakh,” he said. The minister said the 108 ambulance service scheme launched in 2010 has helped around 10 lakh people in medical emergencies. The bike ambulance service (launched as an extension to 108) earlier this year has so far extended help to 441 persons.

Parmar said the government was expeditiously working to provide air ambulance to the people, who were otherwise not having speedy access to the hospitals for topographical constraints.

He said the base camp for air ambulance would be set up in Manali, after the Government of India nod.