Govt. to expand 1990 ambulance service countrywide

The Sri Lankan Government is moving fast to expand the 1990 Suvasariya ambulance service islandwide with the financial assistance of India, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva revealed.

He said the Government was finalising arrangements to set up an institution named the Suwasariya Foundation by an Act of Parliament in order to expand the 1990 ambulance service islandwide.

“We are now in the final phase of the Act of Parliament to incorporate the 1990 Foundation which will be fully-owned by the Government of Sri Lanka and run as an independent entity,” the Deputy Minister said in a Facebook post.

The 1990 free ambulance service currently implemented in the Western and Southern provinces has been a success and the Government plans to implement the service in the other seven provinces as well.

The emergency ambulance service was set up with the $ 7 million assistance from the Indian Government in July 2016. The first phase of the project included the establishment of an emergency response centre, the deployment of 88 ambulances in the Southern and Western provinces and the recruitment and training of nearly 600 Sri Lankan personnel to implement the project.

The Cabinet of Ministers earlier this month gave the nod to the Government to set up the Suwasariya Foundation by an Act of Parliament in order to expand the 1990 ambulance service islandwide.

Deputy Minister Dr. de Silva said India has granted another $ 15 million to expand the free ambulance service islandwide and the 1,300 new staff members will be recruited across the island in the next phase.

According to Dr. De Silva, the current response time from the time of a call is less than 13 minutes and 99.6% of calls are answered in the first ring. Since implementation, over 40,000 emergency patients have been transferred to hospitals.

The Deputy Minister said the 1990 Suwaseriya Command and Control Center in Rajagiriya, with a staff of over 500 staff including Emergency Medical Technicians, Pilots and Emergency Response Officers, is perhaps one of the most efficient operations in Sri Lanka.

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