South Central Ambulance Service marks a year providing emergency services in India
THE SOUTH Central Ambulance Service has marked a year providing a ‘valuable’ emergency response service in India.
In July last year the service, known as SCAS, launched the 108 service and 104 mobile medical unit services – equivalent to 999 and NHS 111 in the UK – to serve the 66 million people living in the Andhra Pradesh area.
As the first international partnership between the NHS and India, it also supported the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
British Deputy High Commissioner Dr Andrew Fleming met SCAS representatives based in the region and members of the Aurobindo Pharma Foundation (APF) this week in honour of the anniversary,
Richard McDonald, clinical international liaison officer for SCAS, said: ‘We have had a very successful first year operating internationally as an organisation, securing the first NHS contract in India and launching enhanced equivalents of both 999 and a combined 111 and GP visiting service for a significant population of India.
‘Within the first month we oversaw the introduction of 1,000 new ambulances in addition to the existing 350 vehicles already in service and have shared our knowledge to help with the much-needed rapid development of ambulance services and healthcare provision in India.
‘We have also been on hand to support the country through the pandemic by providing valuable input and guidance and our local team enjoyed welcoming Dr Fleming to the 108 Emergency Response Services control room this week to find out more about our progress.’
The partnership followed a decision by the Indian government to begin a significant investment programme to address wide gaps in healthcare provision inspired by the ‘free at point of contact’ NHS ambulance services available in the UK – and resulted in an approach to SCAS for guidance.
The agreement between SCAS and APF is due to run until 2027 and will include the development of SCAS-supported clinical guidelines and governance, education, wider healthcare system development and a workforce development programme.
It is supported by Healthcare UK, an initiative led by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Department for International Trade to promote the NHS in overseas markets.