The appeal was filed by GVK-Chikitsa, which lost the bid to BVG and its London-based partner. The Bombay high court too had upheld the tendering process.
The Maharashtra government had appointed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences as consultants to prepare the specifications for the EMS ambulances. Public health minister Suresh Shetty said the EMS will be funded by the Centre and the state government. “Now that the apex court has dismissed the appeal we will issue the work order,” Shetty said.
The EMS is based on the ‘Golden Hour’ concept where a patient is shifted within the first hour to the nearest hospital. This is hoped to be achieved through a dedicated toll-free number. Moreover, patients won’t be charged for the round-the-clock service.
Medical emergencies include road accidents, natural calamities, outbreak of epidemics, situations related to pregnant women and newborns. The ambulances will be fitted with equipment certified by European or American government associations and have an ayurvedic doctor. A centre, set up at the government chest hospital in Aundh, Pune, will take distress calls and deploy the vehicles. With 937 ambulances, the EMS will be larger than London’s fleet ambulance service, which has a strength of 700.
The state will bear the cost of manufacturing ambulances, setting up the call centre and expenses related to training and salaries of personnel. The government will need around 3,000 doctors to man the ambulances.
Each ambulance is estimated to cost Rs 16 lakh and the recurring cost is estimated at Rs 12 lakh annually.