Dr Fong on availability of ambulances

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong (left) with CEO of Waste Recyclers Fiji Ltd Amitesh Deo and director Joseph Deo at Koronivia in Nausori yesterday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong says the use of government vehicles during health emergencies is part of a deliberate plan when ambulances are not available because of maintenance or other issues.

He made the comment at a news conference yesterday in reference to a recent issue in Levuka where a passenger was transported in the back of a government vehicle from the Levuka Hospital to the jetty to be transported to Suva for treatment.

“What happened in Levuka was they had an ambulance but the ambulance had to go for maintenance so we had to use something to tide us over until the ambulance came back,” Dr Fong said.

“It just so happened in this case that they had to use a vehicle but the vehicle was only to transport the patient from Levuka Hospital to the boat and from the boat to Suva we had a proper ambulance waiting for the person. I have actually instructed my people to keep that vehicle as a backup and we will expect to see that every now and then when there is no ambulance that will be our backup and it is in our program of fleet management that there must be a backup which is what you saw in that post.”

Dr Fong added the ministry was putting place measures to ensure they were aware of the state of ambulances at all times.

“We are in the process of trying to ensure that all ambulances will be tracked for when they’re supposed to be sent for maintenance and any accident is detected early and repaired quickly rather than to continue running when it needs to go for repairs.”

He said they were expecting 10 new ambulances from a development partner in the coming week and this would further assist in addressing future ambulance needs. |

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