Ambulance bosses spend £350,000 on taxis for patients

BOSSES at Yorkshire Ambulance Service spent £348,890 on using private taxis to transfer patients last year.

Taxis have been used when there is a shortage of official non-emergency transport for patients who are too ill to travel by themselves - such as with broken limbs or receiving chemotherapy.

More than £30m has been spent on taxis by hospitals trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 2008, new figures show.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said its spend on taxis has reduced by 90 per cent over the past three years - from nearly £2m in 2008-9.

In 2009-10 it spent £1,204,451, which was slashed to £348,890 in 2010-11.

The latest figures show £135,551 was spent between April 1 2011 and June 30 2011.

Sarah Fatchett, director of operations at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Our patient pransport Service is the second largest provider of non-emergency transport in the UK and made over 1.1 million patient journeys during 2010-11 on behalf of 50 NHS trusts throughout Yorkshire.

“When demand for our services is high, our own resources can be complemented by approved private transport service providers, which we have worked to put under formal contracting and governance arrangements to give the necessary assurances to patients when we do use taxis.

“Year-on-year the trust has significantly decreased the use of private transport and in the past three years has reduced the amount spent on such services by over 90 per cent.

“Patient care is our utmost priority and we have formal safeguards and contractual operating standards in place to ensure that the use of private transport providers does not compromise patient safety.”