5T plays a big role in bringing down ambulance response time from 30 to 20 minutes in Odisha

5T Plays A Big Role in bringing Down Ambulance Response Time From 30 To 20 Minutes In Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The 108 Emergency Medical Ambulance Service has been a lifeline for the people of Odisha, initiated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Pattnaik, in 2013, aimed at enhancing emergency healthcare services for the 4.5 crore residents of the state.

In 2019, the 108 Emergency Medical Ambulance Service was integrated into the innovative 5T framework of the government, with a mission to enhance fleet efficiency and decrease response time from 30 to 20 minutes. Over the subsequent years, various strategies were implemented to meet this challenge, including the upgrading of the fleet and enhancing its performance.

Between October 2019 and March 2020, all 420 existing ambulances in the 108 fleet were replaced with new ones. This replacement aimed to decrease travel time and vehicle breakdowns, which negatively impacted response time and ambulance capacity.

Furthermore, in January 2021, an additional 84 new ambulances were introduced to the fleet to cater to the rising demand for inter-facility transfers, reduce service request cancellations, and ensure equal coverage across districts.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–21, the need for more advanced life support (ALS) ambulances became apparent. Therefore, 28 new ALS ambulances were added in April 2021 to cater to patients with serious respiratory ailments.

Subsequently, in May 2023, a decision was made to upgrade 299 Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances to ALS, ensuring each block in the state had access to advanced care during critical patient transportation.

In November 2023, an assessment was conducted to further reduce response time to 20 minutes, leading to the induction of 236 new ambulances into the fleet, further enhancing performance and efficiency.

Presently, the fleet comprises 1366 ambulances, including 411 ALS ambulances and 6 boat ambulances. Micro-level operational details such as vehicle maintenance, off-roading management, and call handling processes were meticulously managed to optimize service efficiency.

These initiatives, under the 5T initiative, have significantly improved fleet efficiency and reduced response time. Currently, the Emergency Medical Ambulance Service fleet attends to approximately 1.3 lakh patients monthly, with a response time of less than 20 minutes, marking one of the lowest in the country, according to a press release from the state government.