Criticism of amount spent on private ambulances

A Sligo councillor is hitting out at the almost €3m he says was spent by Sligo University Hospital during the past seven years on private ambulances.

Sinn Fein Councillor Chris MacManus says it’s not value for money, adding that the amount should have been spent buying and staffing new ambulances.

He added that Sligo University Hospital has consistently been in the top three in the State for spending public money on private ambulances.

However, the Saolta hospital group says it is important to note that private ambulances are mainly used for transport and transfers, not emergencies.

It adds that there is a signficiant requirement for transfers of non-urgent public patients, and private ambulances are used for this when necessary.

Taxis are also used when an ambulance is not required.

Cllr MacManus says that overall, the HSE has spent more than €31m on private ambulances since 2011.