A medical doctor at the Asamankese District Hospital, Dr Eshun, has said on authority that ambulance drivers demand â€œmoney for fuelâ€ from families of patients in need of emergency care before they transport them to hospitals.
As of now, there are only 55 functioning ambulances in the whole country with 95 of them broken down.
Dr Eshun, who called into the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Tuesday, 3 July 2018, during a discussion on the need to revamp the countryâ€™s ambulance service system, said even with the 55 functioning ambulances, none of the drivers move until the fuel money is paid â€“ whether the ambulance is already fueled or not.
Dr Eshun told show host Moro Awudu that: â€œIâ€™m a doctor working in a district hospital, at our end, we experience some of the worst scenarios when it comes to transporting patients. I donâ€™t know whether you are aware that even when you get an ambulance to move the patient from the district hospital to bigger hospitals, without money, the ambulance wonâ€™t even move to your end to take your patient?â€
Dr Eshun continued: â€œTheyâ€™ll tell you to make money available before theyâ€™ll come and take the patient to the hospital. The driver will [demand for it] in the name of fuel money, whether there is fuel in the ambulance or not, the relatives are supposed to fuel the ambulance, yeah, Iâ€™m telling you this.â€
Dr Eshun recalled that an ambulance once refused to move a patient because his family was unable to pay GHC50 as fuel money. â€œThat is the situation, that is how difficult the situation is and can you imagine in a district where most of the populace are poor people and an ambulance is demanding GHS450 to move a patient from the district hospital to a higher facility for medical care.
â€œIâ€™m telling you, sometimes they charge much, for example, if youâ€™re supposed to move a patient from Asamankese government hospital to letâ€™s say Korle-Bu; they can charge between GHC460 and GHC600 depending on where the ambulance is coming from and if that money is not available, theyâ€™ll not transport the patientsâ€.