Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday flagged off 50 new ambulances under the `Free 108 National Ambulance Service` raising the strength of the fleet to 162 in the state.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh flagged off 50 ambulances, equipped and fabricated to provide emergency medical aid to patients, from the historic Ridge Maidan here.
125 more small ambulances would be purchased shortly to facilitate expectant mothers to reach hospitals and return back to their homes after delivery with new-borns, he said.
The National Ambulance Service has proved a boon for the people and benefited more than three lakh patients besides being used in 2,500 fire and 10,000 police related cases since its inception three years ago, Singh said.
The free ambulance project was a Centrally sponsored scheme but the previous BJP government claimed it as its own scheme for deriving political mileage, he said.
The state government was pursuing the matter regarding increasing 50 MBBS seats each in IGMC and Government Medical college at Tanda (Kangra) with the Union government and hoping for early nod from the Centre, the Chief Minister said.
An approval has been granted to fill 475 vacant posts of various categories in Health department to provide best health care services to the people at their door-steps, he said.
The Chief Minister also launched National Rural Health Mission website (www.Nrhmhp.Gov.In), which would provide all updated health related information to the people.
Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said 200 posts of doctors would be filled up during 2013-14 and 2014-15 and the IGMC would be developed as a Super Speciality Hospital.
He said that ECG machine and snake bite serum had also been made available besides other life saving medicines and equipments in the 108 Ambulance.