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Deputy Imelda Munster.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital spent half a million euro hiring private ambulances in 2017

Local TD Imelda Munster has described HSE figures on the cost of private ambulances in Louth as “deeply shocking” and called it “public money down the drain”.

Deputy Munster said: “Our Lady of Lourdes hospital has spent almost three million euro on private ambulances over the last seven years reaching its highest ever figure of €496,031 in 2017.

“This is an exorbitant figure and it certainly does not represent value for tax payer’s money. Louth County Hospital spent over €21,000 Euro since 2012 with a peak spend of €8537 in 2016.

“A hospital’s Ambulance Service is the front line of emergency medical and pre-hospital care and they play a vital role in saving lives as well as transferring patients.

“It should be noted that the total of €31 million spent on private ambulance services since 2011 by the HSE nationwide would have bought at least 140 fully equipped emergency ambulances.

“Our Lady of Lourdes hospital could have purchased thirteen new ambulances over the same period.

“The HSE’s failure to invest in new ambulances will result in the continued disintegration of the ambulance asset stock which will cause even further reliance on private providers. This is evidenced in the fact that the cost of hiring private ambulances has quadrupled since 2011 from €2,128,882 to over €8 million last year.

“The government needs to ensure that we have a high quality, publicly owned stock of ambulances instead of putting money into the pockets of private companies. I have written to the Minister calling on him to give direction to the HSE that this practice has to stop.”

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