Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday said it seeks free treatment to accident victims for the first 48 hours in private and government hospitals and all ambulance services under one umbrella.

These are parts of the proposed standard operating procedure (SOP) to strengthen the 'golden hour management' system in a bid to reduce the death rate in road accidents in the state.

Chief Secretary AK Tripathy issued a direction in this regard while reviewing the system at a meeting here.

While 4790 people were killed in road accidents in 2017, it increased to 5315 in 2018. At least 2532 people have been killed from January to May this year.

Tripathy asked the health and family welfare department to bring all private and government ambulance services under the umbrella of a common call centre to provide the earliest service to the victims.

The chief secretary directed all the private and government hospitals to provide the best quality life-saving treatment to accident victims for first 48 hours free of cost since that period is crucial for the lives of accident victims.

Health & Family Welfare department would soon issue the SOP in this matter, department Secretary P K Meherda said.

Official sources said presently 512 vehicles operate as '108-Ambulances' in the state besides 19 fire station ambulances. Besides, the National High Way Authorities of India has also deployed one ambulance for a stretch of 50 kms of NH.

Besides, there are around 1562 private ambulances run by hospitals, charitable institutions and corporate houses, the sources said.

It was decided at the meeting that technical standards for the registration of an ambulance would be prepared by Health & Family Welfare department keeping in view the National Ambulance Code.

This would specify the equipment, paramedic staff, medicines and other life-saving gadgets for an ambulance. Each ambulance would also have one GPS tracking device for indicating its exact location and movement so that necessary assistance and instructions could be given to the personnel in the vehicle as and when required, the sources said.

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