Fix reasonable cost for ambulance services for Covid-19 patients : SC

Fix reasonable cost for ambulance services for Covid-19 patients : SC

The Supreme Court on Friday directed states to fix reasonable prices for ambulance services to novel coronavirus patients.

The Supreme Court passed the direction as it heard a PIL seeking an increase in ambulance services to cater to the rising number of Covid-19 patients.

On allegations of exorbitant rates being charged for ambulances from suspected and confirmed coronavirus patients, the SC said states should fix this charge.

Expressing concern over-inflated charges of ambulances, the Supreme Court said states are obligated to implement the Centre's standard operating procedure (SOP) on various aspects of Covid-19 including transporting a suspected or confirmed case.

"It is obligatory for all the states to follow the SOP and take appropriate measures with regard to augmenting the capacity of ambulances," said the bench. "The state government will fix reasonable charge and all ambulances will be provided on that charge," the bench said and disposed of the PIL.

The bench, during the hearing, noted that some states are not implementing the SOP and the patients are at the mercy of others and are being charged Rs 7,000 and sometimes up to Rs 50,000 for ambulance services.

Earlier, the central government on March 29 had laid down the SOP on various issues including for medical staff attending to or transporting a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19.

The SOP was also meant to guide and train ambulance drivers and technicians in transporting Covid-19 patients.

"Ideally, there should be ambulances identified specifically for transporting COVID suspect patients or those who have developed complications, to the health facilities," the SOP had said.