Taxis cost NHS millions20th October 2011
The NHS has spent more than £30m on taxis for patients since 2008 because of a shortage of official non-emergency transport.
Biggest spender was the North West Ambulance Service with £9.9m going on taxi fares covering 500,000 journeys since April 2008.
The figures emerged following a BBC Freedom of Information request to ambulance trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data was not made available for Scotland.
Taxis were being used to transfer of patients who were too ill to travel by themselves.
Some of the more expensive journeys included two fares of more than £700: one for a 184-mile journey from Cambridgeshire to Bristol when a patient was discharged from Papworth Hospital; and a second for a 151-mile trip from Chase Farm Hospital in north London to Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
South East Coast Ambulance Trust has avoided paying anything out to taxis in the past three years while in London there have been fewer than 100 journeys a year.
Sara Gorton, from Unison, said there may be times when taxi use was unavoidable but the health union had concerns that there would be times when patients need transporting by someone with more skills and training than just how to drive.
She added: “There are big differences in the way that patient transport is provided and what standards are kept to in different areas.”
Delwyn Wray, the director of patient transport services at North West Ambulance Trust and vice-chairman of the National Patient Transport Service Group, said: “Anyone needing medical help in any way would not go by taxis.”
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Thursday 20th October 2011 @ 10:00
when my baby was dying in the hospital nurse refused to let me use hospital's phone to phone my relative saying it cost them money ! i thought how cruel of her. the baby eventually died and nurse had no remorse
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