Contractual paramedics and contractual drivers of Centralized Accidents and Trauma Services (CATS) went on a strike in the capital to protest against outsourcing of the ambulance operation.
CATS has 152 ambulances, including 21 advanced life support (ALS), 10 basic life support (BLS) and 121 patient transporting vehicles.
As part of the strike, over 50 ambulances were not operated despite receiving calls from patients.
Many ambulances went off the road and, in some cases, the hospitals had to request the patient parties to arrange for their own vehicles. "I called for CATS ambulance twice but there was no response. Finally I had to rush my uncle in an auto to the hospital," said Neeraj Kumar, a resident of Malviya Nagar in south Delhi.
Sources said that less than 50 ambulances were operational on Monday and help was taken from Delhi Police PCR vans to continue the service.
"We are against the tender floated by government to outsource the operation and maintenance of its CATS ambulance service," said a contractual employee.
"Contract staff will continue under the administrative control of CATS as clearly mentioned in the expression of interest that has been floated. There is no way they will lose their job," said N Vasantha Kumar, director, CATS.
Sources said discussions were held between the director of CATS and contractual staff on Sunday during which the latter was assured that they would continue under the direct contract engagement of CATS. However, the employees demanded complete rollback.