Almost €2 million was spent on private ambulances by the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore last year.
Figures received by Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary Carol Nolan in response to a parliamentary question show that €4 million was spent by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group for transportation by private ambulance operators in 2016 alone.
Of that figure, €1.91 million, almost half the total figure, was accounted for by the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group consists of seven hospitals, St James’ Hospital Dublin, St Lukes Radiation Oncology Network, The Adelaide & Meath Hospital (Tallaght Hospital) Dublin, Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore, Naas General Hospital, Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise and The Coombe Women & Infant University Hospital Dublin
Deputy Nolan has called on the Minister for Health to clarify the increased spend on private ambulances by the HSE in the Midlands region.
Teachta Nolan commented, “I recently submitted a number of parliamentary questions to the Minister and I have to say the figures are somewhat concerning.
“According to correspondence from the HSE, the requirement for private ambulance use arises from the transfer of non urgent public patients for various clinical reasons.
“The figures show that over €25 million has been spent on private ambulances to transport HSE patients since 2012. For some reason this figure has increased dramatically over that time period. In 2012 this figure was under €4 million but has jumped to almost €6.5 million in 2015 and 2016.
Deputy Nolan noted that at a time when the health service is 'bursting at the seams', it needs to questioned as to whether this is the best use of resources adding, “in Offaly we know only too well the impact of cuts to the health budget.”
“A clear time frame must now be set out to establish when this will conclude and I will continue to raise this matter with the Minister until we get clarity,” she concluded.