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Lack of transport facility and coordination affect patients

With no public transport available and ambulances available only 4-6 hours after raising the request, scores of city residents who test positive for coronavirus infection are struggling to find a mode to reach healthcare facilities or COVID Care Centres after collecting their results.

Lack of transport facility and coordination affect patients


After both of them tested positive, a 28-year-old woman and her mother from Alandur requested an ambulance to take her to the government hospital. But it arrived only after eight hours. “The ambulance service providers said that they were handling other cases and I should wait. Despite requesting Corporation officials, no vehicle could be arranged,” she said.

In another instance, a 60-year-old patient from north Chennai developed breathlessness and his family members tried to take him to the hospital immediately. However, there were no ambulances even after contacting the helpline, forcing the kin to depend on their neighbour to take him to the hospital on his car.

When asked about such complaints, 108 ambulance service provider GVK EMRI’s marketing head Balaji Premnath said while there were more than 1,500 cases reported in Chennai every day, there were only 80 ambulances in the city. “We are trying to respond to all the cases we get but we are short-staffed. We agree that there might be a slight delay in some cases. After we to attend to one patient, the vehicle must be fumigated before attending another one,” he said.

Many patients face delay in being taken to the hospital after their test results are out due to lack of coordination between agencies.

After receiving results from a private laboratory that confirmed that he was positive, a 48-year-old man and wife went to a government hospital for treatment. But they were asked to return home as neither the hospital nor Greater Chennai Corporation staff received information about his sample results.

However, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Dr TS Selvavinayagam denied any such lapses and said there were enough vehicles to transport patients and the process was in place. “We have adequate number of vehicles, and additional vehicles have also been procured,” he claimed.

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