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Ambulance services clarified

Luisa Qiolevu
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services has clarified that ambulance services are provided in accordance with the National Ambulance Policy.

The clarification follows concerns raised by villagers of Natewa and Viani in Cakaudrove that ambulance services could not be accessed from villages but only at nearby health facilities.

Natewa villager Jone Maiwelagi said they had to pay more than $70 to get a truck from Savusavu to take them to the hospital.

"When we need to take a patient to the health centre, we have to find our own transport because the ambulance cannot come right to our village," he said.

Viani Village nurse Laite Waqaniboro said they had to call for trucks from Savusavu Town to take her patients to the nearest health centre.

"It's quite sad that we don't get to access any ambulance service this side as our health centre is located half an hour's drive away from us," Ms Waqaniboro said.

In response to their concerns, the ministry said it would facilitate patient transfer and retrieval from one health facility to another health facility.

"In the areas of Cakaudrove, our ambulances are stationed at Tukavesi and Savusavu areas," the ministry said.

"Our priority is to transfer cases from one health facility to another."

The ministry said in case of any emergency, communities are advised to contact their nearest health centres, hospital or nursing facility.

"If the case needs to be transferred, then the on-call doctor at the sub-divisional hospital will authorise the transfer through ambulance services, depending on the severity of the case once assessed by the doctors.

"But if the relatives decide to transfer the case from a patient's residence or community to a health facility then they have to pay for the services, as stated by the National Ambulance Policy," the ministry said.

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