2021 Auditor-General’s report: Ambulance Service fail to insure vehicles

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Some of the ambulances
Some of the ambulances

The Auditor-General’s report for 2021, says the National Ambulance Service’s (NAS) approach to ambulance management cannot sustain the country’s provision of a responsive emergency medical service.

Routine servicing schedules and maintenance procedures, according to the report, were not followed.
The report also revealed that the service failed to pay insurance premiums, failed to insure some ambulances, and neglected to perform routine maintenance.
According to the report, these challenges led to a yearly reduction in the ambulance fleet.
Additionally, despite the use of staff to carry out maintenance activities, third-party service providers inflated invoices for labour to the detriment of NAS.
The situation did not ensure efficient use of resources, the report added.
NAS was unable to meet the internationally accepted response time in providing emergency medical services in the country and effectively track the movement and use of the ambulances, the report disclosed.

Staff competencies
Emergency medical technicians were not trained as expected, and where training programmes were offered, they were not targeted to address a specific staff competency gap.
The analysis of the Auditor-General also discovered that as of December 2021, 29 ambulances out of the 307 ambulances commissioned in 2020 were involved in road traffic accidents, the report added.
The report reveals that 50 per cent of the payments by citizens as demanded by the staff of the NAS for fuel are not used to purchase fuel; instead, those monys were diverted for discretionary items such as staff funeral support, buying microwaves, stationery, detergents, cost of photocopies and paying for ‘motivation of staff’.
In 2020, the government procured 307 Mercedis Benz ambulances at a cost of $54.3 million and distributed them to 275 constituencies in the country, but 16 had been out of use by 2021.
This raises concern about sustainability of the rate of recurrent reduction in the ambulance fleet
There were also concerns about the use of the ambulance for purposes other than emergency medical services and the late response to attend to emergency calls.