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HSE spent over €25 million on private ambulances in just five years – O’Reilly

30 June, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this morning Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD said that the HSE spend of over €25 million on private ambulances over the past five years does not constitute value for money and the money should instead have been spent purchasing and staffing new ambulances for each HSE region which would constitute an investment and tangible assets for the State.

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“Privatisation in its various guises has been spreading across our health service for some time now. The outsourcing of ambulance services to private companies by our health services is further evidence of this.

"The Government and the private interests involved will say that it is more cost effective, however, there is no evidence of it being a cheaper, more efficient, or innovative method of providing this essential public service.

“Figures released to me in a response to a Parliamentary Question have shown that the state has spent €25,630,392 on private ambulances since 2012. This colossal spend on hiring private ambulance services does not make sense or represent value for tax payers money.

“It is my belief that the HSE should be purchasing and staffing new ambulances which would make more economic sense in the long run. It should be noted that the money spent on private ambulance services since 2012 would have bought at least 116 fully equipped emergency ambulances.

“Unless the HSE invests in new ambulances the ambulance asset stock will continue to fall and they will become even more reliant on private providers. This is evidenced in the fact that there was nearly a €2 million jump in expenditure on private ambulances between 2014 and 2016 (€1,967,947) and the increasing spend shows no sign of abating.

“The State needs to ensure that we have a high quality, publicly owned stock of ambulances instead of putting money into the pockets of private companies which does not constitute fiscal prudence or a benefit to the taxpayer.

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