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Times of India
09 October 2009
By Laxmi Birajdar
Pune, India

Defining A ‘Paramedic‘, Standardised EMS Curriculum Top Priorities
The need for providing better emergency medical services (EMS), a standardised curriculum to train medical professionals in EMS and making the national EMS helpline, 108, operational in Maharashtra, these were some of the most important issues discussed at the national seminar on EMS organised by Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences (SIHS).

It was also decided to chalk a concrete plan in the next 90 days. This plan will list all the needs related to EMS in India.

“We are still working on this plan. It has to provide an integrated approach between ambulance, fire brigade and the police,” said Rajeev Yeravdekar, director of SIHS.

The seminar was attended by ambulance–owners, doctors specialising in EMS and representatives from National Disaster Management Academy (NDMA) and EMRI, who participated in the panel discussion on ‘EMS: The Road Ahead.”

Since 2004, SIHS along with EMS specialists in Pune have been submitting proposals on EMS legislation to the state government. “In fact, we‘ve been re–sending the proposal time and again so that the government takes a stand on it. A lot of developments have to happen on the EMS front because we still don‘t have a standardised EMS curriculum. Also, there is a need for proper legislation on EMS that specify a specialists‘ roles, duties, responsibilities and rights among other things,” Yeravdekar said.

The definition of a ‘paramedic‘ is not clear in India, he said, adding, “Unlike the West, we do not have clear a definition for a ‘paramedic‘ and their duties in India. That‘s why we are also proposing to the make such a definition clear so that we can have better EMS specialists,” says Yeravdekar.

“EMS training is the need of the hour. Fact is, allopathic doctors are taught pre–hospital care during their medical course. We started the EMS course at SIHS in 2002 and have so far trained more than 3,000 doctors in EMS,” says Yeravdekar.

Dr Prasad Rajhans, pioneer of EMS in Pune and chief intensivist at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, who was also part of the seminar, said that something might work towards standardising EMS in Pune and within maybe in India too. “Those who attended the seminar are thinking of forming an association of EMS providers. Nothing has been decided yet, but this idea is being toyed with,” Rajhans said.

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