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In 2017, the HSE spent over €12 million on taxis across all Community Health Organisations (CHOs), according to a response to a parliamentary question.
Ms Sarah Anderson, General Manager, HSE Corporate Finance, provided the answer to Labour Deputy Jan O’Sullivan , who requested a breakdown of taxi expenditure by CHO area. The figures reveal that €12,028,769 was spent on taxis during 2017.
The response revealed that the CHO with the greatest expenditure on taxis was CHO 8 (Laois/Offaly, Longford/Westmeath, Louth/Meath) where €3,656,638 was spent in 2017. The least spent was in CHO 3 (Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary/East Limerick). In this region, €315,498 was expended on taxis.
CHO 3, CHO 1 (Donegal, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan, Cavan/Monaghan) and CHO 9 (Dublin North, Dublin North Central, Dublin North West) spent under €1 million. All other CHOs, except for CHO 8, spent between €1 million and €2 million.
Ms Anderson noted that because different ledger systems exist within the HSE, differences in data collection among CHOs may arise and that collated figures may include costs for minibuses or local transport initiatives.
She also stated that taxi services are sometimes used to transport charts and files between hospitals. Using taxis is more cost-effective than the HSE owning a fleet of its own vehicles, she wrote in the response, as it does not require costs such as tax, fuel, maintenance or insurance.
The Health Business Service, the business division of the HSE, recently announced an invitation to tender for taxi services in St Luke’s General Hospital (Carlow/Kilkenny). The successful tenderers should have competitive qualitative credentials, as well as being of the lowest possible cost to the HSE.