Figures reveal how much NHS trusts spend on taxis for patients

Figures have revealed how much NHS organisations have spent on taxis for patients. Photo: Jonathan B

Figures have revealed how much NHS organisations have spent on taxis for patients. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A new analysis of spending by NHS trusts has revealed how much organisations locally and across England spend on taxis for their patients.

The cost is for transferring patients by private taxi when they are too ill, frail or unable to travel to and from appointments by themselves, and a taxi may be paid for by the NHS if there is a shortage of patient transport services at the hospital.

The figures, from data supplied to the Health and Social Care Information Centre for 2014-15, show the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital spent £74,338, while the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spent £70,573.

These figures were dwarfed by the amounts spent by trusts in other parts of the country, including the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, which spent £722,000 on taxis as part of its service to NHS hospitals, and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which spent £617,008.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: 'There is an exorbitant amount of waste and inefficiency in the NHS and we've got to stop it. Surely, by putting some time aside for planning patients' needs, we could use hospital transport far more effectively and not continue to waste money on private taxis?'

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A spokesman for NHS England said: 'For several decades it has been common to contract with non-emergency patient transport providers so as not to tie up emergency ambulances on routine but necessary trips to hospital by patients who qualify for public support.'

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'Authorities must do everything possible to make sure costs are kept down and come up with the most efficient method of transporting patients.'

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