Over €800,000 spent on private ambulances at Galway hospitals in 2018

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Over €800,000 was spent on private ambulances at University Hospital Galway and Portiuncula Hospital last year.

UHG spent €511,436 on private ambulances in 2018, lower than the three years before that but more than three times as much as in 2011 when the hospital only spent €139,802.

While Portiuncula Hospital spent another €296,744 last year, nearly six times as higher than €50,108 in 2011.

The figures were released to Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly by the HSE in response to a question on the total amount spent at Irish hospitals over an eight year period.

In total over €9 million was spent by hospitals on private ambulance operators last year compared with €2.1 million in 2011.

Letterkenny University racked up the highest bill, spending €1 million by itself.

Deputy O’Reilly said that the rapidly increasing spend on ambulance services is evidence of “the drive towards the privatisation of our health services under Fine Gael”.

She said that it would make greater economic sense in the long run for that money to be spent on purchasing and staffing publicly owned ambulances.

“Unless the HSE invests in new ambulances and invests in training additional staff, the health service will become even more reliant on private providers.”