Tests for all ambulances

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2008, 12:00am

All ambulances will undergo examinations after the recent series of breakdowns that delayed treatment, the Fire Services Department said.

The move comes after a fourth breakdown in Tai Po yesterday. Ambulancemen failed to start A299's engine at the Tai Po Tai Wo Road fire station at about 4pm when it had received an emergency call about an elderly woman with a fever and having difficulty breathing at Sam Mun Tsai Road. Ambulance A82 was sent out after a delay of a few minutes.

This breakdown follows three others in the past three days. The first, on Sunday, contributed to the death of a 60-year-old kidney patient. The delivery of two accident victims was delayed and a woman had to wait extra time for her delivery to hospital.

Besides routine maintenance, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department would conduct thorough examinations of all ambulances in two weeks to reduce any chances of a breakdown, a Fire Services Department spokesman said last night.

The department will replace half of its 250-strong fleet, with 35 new vehicles arriving in a few months, while a further 88 were expected to arrive next year, he said.