UHL: 25% increase in taxi spend between 2015 and 2016
MORE than €3.5m has been spent on taxis transporting patients to and from University Hospital Limerick over the past three years, new figures show.
The Dooradoyle hospital’s expenditure on taxi services has also increased, every year, since 2014, with a 25% hike in spending between 2015 and 2016.
In 2014, €1,011,194 was spent on taxi services; €1,106,786 was spent in 2015; followed by a €1,393,951 spend in 2016.
The highest amount paid to a taxi company in 2016 was €373,000. One company received €178,000, and two others received around €150,000 each. The lowest amount paid to a company was €4,875 last year.
According to the figures, received by Live 95fm under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, the highest spend in 2015 on any company was €300,000, with €170,000 being the highest amount paid to a taxi firm in 2014.
Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan described the increase in taxi expenditures as “very high”.
It is understood that the taxi services are primarily for dialysis patients, with a few oncology patients availing of the service.
“I don’t think anyone would question the need for dialysis patients to get to the hospital, to have their dialysis.
“But, in terms of the amount of money involved, I think we do need to have an explanation as to why it has gone up so much. We need to ensure that there is value for money,” she told the radio.
According to Fine Gael TD Tom Neville, the rise in spend is down to the increase in ageing patients who are no longer able to drive; increase in wheelchair-accessible taxis; and the increase in tourists availing of dialysis treatment at UHL.
More than 13,000 dialysis treatments took place at UHL in 2016.