The Saolta Hospital Group, which includes Roscommon Hospital, spent over €2 million on private ambulances last year, and is set to break the €3 million mark this year, the Health Service Executive have revealed.
This information was disclosed following a parliamentary question from Independent TD Denis Naughten.
In 2013, €44,168 was spent by Roscommon Hospital, €38,155 last year and €30,155 in the first five month of this year.
This is despite the establishment of Saolta’s own hospital transport service for patients two years ago.
The patient transport service uses Intermediate Care Vehicles (ICVs), manned by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), to transport patients between hospitals, like those within Saolta Group.
“The reason for establishing this service was to assist the Saolta Hospital Group in transporting patients between hospitals,” said Deputy Naughten.
“But despite this the hospitals have forked out €2.2m in 2014 and have already spent in excess of €1.25m in the first five months of 2015.
“This is on top of the money paid by health insurers for the transport of private patients between these hospitals.
“The use of the ICVs was to ensure that patients who are already in hospital can be transferred between hospitals without tying up emergency ambulances and paramedics, who would then available to respond to 999/112 calls.
“What is even more frustrating is the fact the money used over the last two and a half years on private ambulances would have paid for an additional 28 ICVs, which would have a dramatic impact on the delivery of the service.”