NHS spending £57.6 million a year on private ambulances, says COP

It is reported that England’s ambulance services spent £57.6 million on private or voluntary ambulances in 2014-15, which accounted for 333,329 callouts.

London saw the largest increase in the use of private ambulances, spending £268,000 for 2,301 callouts in 2010-2011 compared to £7.5 million for 56,273 callouts in 2014-15. The huge increase has been attributed to a large amount of paramedics leaving the service, with 223 leaving the London Trust since last year.

Richard Webber, spokesperson for the COP, said: “As a result of increasing job opportunities and the increasing pressure on paramedics, the turnover in trusts has greatly increased and there are currently not enough paramedics to provide a safe and effective service.

“The college understands the need for the increased use of private services; however this is a short term solution and more paramedics need to be trained in the UK to make sure that the public receives the level and speed of care they should receive in the community.” 

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said that private and voluntary ambulances have aways worked in partnership with the NHS, and the use of these ambulances is a local decision.

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