The South/South West Hospital Group (SSWHG) spent almost €95,000 on patient taxis from January to the end of August 2019, new figures obtained by the Medical Independent (MI) through Freedom of Information (FoI) law show.
In 2018, a total of €89,443 was spent on taxis in the SSWHG. This is lower than the cost for 2017, which totalled €120,902. In 2016, the Group spent €44,410 transporting patients.
According to the Group, the taxis are used to transport renal dialysis patients to Dublin for treatment.
The Group stated: “The use of taxis for patient transport represents a more cost-effective solution when compared to investment in a fleet of HSE-owned vehicles for this purpose.”
The HSE has been criticised in recent weeks for its spend on taxi and transport costs, when figures were released showing that nationally, taxi services cost €22 million from January to August 2019.
Other figures, also obtained by MI through FoI law, have revealed the amount spent on taxis by Children’s Health Ireland (CHI), the statutory body created to take over responsibility for services currently provided by Dublin’s three children’s hospitals, and to eventually oversee the new children’s hospital.
Up to August 2019, CHI spent €221,175 on taxis and transport, the majority of which was spent transporting staff, while the remainder was used for “specimens and patients”. This compares to €238,000 spent in 2018 — €163,483 of which was for staff.
According to CHI, the organisation uses the taxis for: Patient transfers for radiotherapy treatment and for special PET scans; transferring patients between CHI sites for clinical reasons (when an ambulance is not required); transferring vulnerable patients who need to get home safely after admission; and transporting specimens at fixed pricing to different centres.
“CHI constantly monitors the taxi contract and has agreed value for money fixed pricing to regular destinations with the supplier,” according to CHI.