Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country’s biggest government hospital, is yet to get its air ambulance facility, three years after it mooted the proposal. It was because the government did not have any air ambulances that it was forced to use a private chartered flight to send the 23-year-old gang rape victim to Singapore for treatment.

“More than two hours were spent to make arrangements for shifting the girl to Singapore. That time could have been saved if an air ambulance facility was available with either AIIMS or Safdarjung Hospital where she was admitted,” a government official familiar with the developments said.

Hospital sources say that the proposal to have an air ambulance facility along with a helipad at AIIMS’ trauma centre was sent to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in December 2009. “However, no one knows what happened to that proposal. The hospital proposed that it would create a pool of doctors and nurses who would be handling the air ambulances,” the official said.

A fully equipped air ambulance costs around Rs 10 cr. Presently, four private hospitals in Delhi have their own air ambulances, Fortis, Gangaram, Apollo and Medanta. Several private companies provide air ambulances to fly patients from one place to another.

Despite repeated attempts, the spokesperson of AIIMS was not available for comment. The queries sent by the newspaper to the spokesperson also went unanswered.

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