NHS IS SPENDING £1M A WEEK ON PRIVATE AMBULANCES FOR EMERGENCIES, UNION SAYS – 2/3rds of Trusts pay private companies to provide cover
The NHS has been accused of “shocking waste” after research by a trade union found it was spending more than £1m a week on private ambulances for emergency calls.
Unison – whose members have just accepted a new government pay deal – says it had responses from two-thirds of ambulance trusts in England that paid private companies to provide emergency cover for critical patients.
It said more than a dozen private companies have been used by trusts in England to try and plug holes and meet response times amid what it called overwhelming demand.
Crews and vehicles are booked up to a year in advance, Unison claimed, so they are available to respond to emergency incidents such as strokes and road traffic accidents.
It added that spending the money on private 999 care was a “short-term fix, not a long-term solution to the crisis in ambulance services”.
Speaking ahead of the union’s annual health conference in Bournemouth, Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “This spend on private 999 services shows a lack of long-term planning and is a shocking waste of money.
“It’s nothing more than a sticking plaster solution. Ambulance services are in a desperate state because the government has failed to invest long term.