In a major step towards improving the quality and safety of ambulances on Indian roads, National Ambulance Code AIS:125 (Automotive Industry Standard) recommended by Central Motor Vehicles Rules-Technical Standing Committee (CMVR-TSC) has been approved by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. The ˜National Ambulance Code™ puts in place minimum standards and guidelines regarding the constructional and functional requirements of road ambulances in India. Drafted in line with the global best practices in the field of ambulance design, the National Ambulance Code has been suitably adapted to factor in the special requirements of the Indian sub-continent, including traffic conditions, need for economy and industry maturity.
The National Ambulance Code classifies road ambulances into four types (A, B, C & D) that is First Responder, Patient Transport, Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support, respectively. The category of First Responder, which also includes two wheeled ambulances, has been specially introduced for the first time in India to cater to the need for providing prompt medical care in congested by-lanes and high traffic areas. Special care has been given to Care Ergonomics, Patient Safety, Oxygen System Design, Infection Control, Crash Rescue, etc. in the National Ambulance Code. Once implemented, this Code will ensure uniformity and standardization in ambulance design and a minimum level of patient care as per the ambulance designation when appropriately staffed and equipped. So far no guidelines were available for hospitals and other procuring agencies for floating tenders and for industry outlining required specifications.
The Government would now consider bringing the National Ambulance Code within the mandatory framework of Central Motor Vehicles Rules. Time frame for mandatory adoption of the National Ambulance Code will be decided by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways in consultation with the manufacturers and other stakeholders. Meanwhile, the standard may be adopted by Government and other procurement agencies for procurement of ambulances on a voluntary basis.