Chandigarh: The Punjab Government today launched a round-the-clock helpline to assist people, particularly in rural and interior areas, in getting information on health problems and access to a qualified doctor.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal launched the helpline by calling up its number "104" and enquired about the services provided by the helpline, an official release said here.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that it would act as a help desk for the people to avail the health care and diagnostic facilities across the state, it said.
"The primary objective of starting this helpline is to assist people, particularly living in rural and interior areas, in getting information on health problems and access to a qualified doctor. Medical advice will be given to the caller by providing basic tips and first aid requirements through this helpline," the release said.
It also said when Badal rang up the helpline number he did not reveal his identity and posed as an ordinary caller.
After knowing the details about the functioning of the helpline, Badal told the operator about his identity and congratulated him for the successful launch of the helpline.
"This 104-Helpline will also provide an effective platform for prompt redressal of complaints, grievances of general public against any government medical institution, service or an individual" it said.
Meanwhile, the officers of the Health department apprised the Chief Minister that requirements of the caller which would be classified into critical, serious or stable and accordingly they would be advised to utilise the services of Emergency Response Services `108` or would be given details of the nearby medical facilities.
It was also informed that qualified paramedics supported by full-time qualified medical practitioner and clinical psychologist would be stationed at the Helpline for offering services to the people.
Counselling to patients, especially the old, women, children and poor would be given through this helpline.
Apart from this, the services of counselling for alcohol, drugs, smoking and mental ailments like anxiety, suicidal tendencies, chronic disease like cancer etc would also be provided.