Rescuers probed for charging for ambulance service

The National Institute for Emergency Medicine has set up a panel to probe a complaint that staff members demanded money for a free service. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEM) is looking into a complaint in social media that staff members have demanded money for calling an ambulance.

The complaint, posted on the Facebook account on Tuesday, claimed officials of one of its networks had asked for 1,500 baht for transporting a patient to a hospital in a Bangkok area on Monday.

The names of the complainer and officials have not been unveiled. The emergency service provider said the officials worked for the Erawan Centre, an emergency medical service under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

NIEM secretary-general Atchariya Phaengma said on Wednesday that the agency had found grounds to probe the case after ing the complainer.

“The involved officials of the Erawan Centre will be ed for talks and the investigation is expected to be wrapped up no more than one month,” he added.

The officials could be fined up to 100,000 baht if they are found guilty under the Emergency Medical Service Law.

The NIEM comprises nationwide networks of emergency services. The ambulance service is free of charge only within 20 kilometres radius from the pickup point of a patient.

Dr Atchariya said the complaint could be a case of a misunderstanding between the rescue workers and the relatives of the patient if the latter wanted to go to a hospital more than 20 kilometres from the pickup point.

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