Even most of physicians of the hospital are not aware of the ambulance. Professor Chinmoy Kanti Das, president of Rajshahi district Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad and health secretary of the district Awami League, told Prothom Alo that it is quite inacceptable that a modern ambulance with ICU facilities is left abandoned due to lack of personnel.
“We have such an ambulance with modern facilities in Rajshahi. We must take initiative to use it,” he added.
According to hospital sources, in addition to the patient's bed, there are seats for physicians and nurses inside the vehicle. The vehicle has been left as delivered. The ambulance carries the words 'Property of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare'. The Iveco ambulance has been imported from Italy and supplied by Messrs. Ferritech Pvt. Ltd. The Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) of the health directorate procured the ambulance and delivered it to the hospital.
The people of Rajshahi have no idea about such an ambulance. Rajshahi district president for Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Ahmed Shafi Uddin said that very few people in Rajshahi have the capacity to transfer a patient with cardiac arrest to Dhaka by air ambulance. Yet this ambulance has been left unused.
“The matter needs to be investigated. Why was this ambulance provided to Rajshahi and why has it not been used?” he asked.
It is learned that Ashraful Ali, in-charge of the ambulance drivers of the hospital, has already been trained to operate the ambulance. He starts the ambulance inside the garage every day morning, leaves it on for half an hour and then turns off the engine again. The ambulance is brought out of the garage only when it has a flat tyres.
Rajshahi Medical College Hospital director Brigadier General Shamim Yazdani told Prothom Alo that the ambulance was given or bought and placed in the hospital.
He said that the vehicle was not supplied on the basis of any local demand.
He said, if a patient is carried by the ambulance anywhere, a physician skilled in ICU management and trained nurses should also be provided so that they can ensure health service inside the ambulance like a hospital. Asked if such personnel had been sought, he said this was always being sought, but to no avail.
He said that even the ICU ward of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital had not been given approval as yet. They run it themselves. No personnel was being provided for the purpose as their was no ICU in the organogram.
According to hospital authorities, the former director of the hospital had written to the ministry seeking personnel after receiving the ambulance. His letter was not answered.
Rajshahi Sadar MP Fazle Hossain Badsha, president of the hospital's management committee, told Prothom Alo that he could not pay attention to the specialised ambulance as he was busy with Covid patients. He said, he would look into the matter.