The NHS has spent £215,000 a day on hiring private ambulances due to a shortage of paramedic staff, reports claim.
According to the Mirror, figures from England’s 10 ambulance trusts reveal that £235million has been spent on private companies who handle 999 calls and general patient transport since 2015.
The publication states that the firms are needed due to lack of health service paramedics.
It comes just one week after a man died due to a private ambulance turning up to treat him with a broken defibrillator.
Trevor Moncrieff, 66, suffered a heart attack but his son Matt was left to perform CPR as the paramedics struggled to get their equipment to work.
It took 13 minutes before the crew decided that back-up was needed – but they were unable to order another ambulance as the ambulance trust they worked for had not supplied them with radios.
They then asked Matt to call the Fire Brigade, who were able to restart the father-of-four’s heart, but sadly he died five days later.
Amvale Medical Transport, the company who supplied the ambulance, have since been dropped by East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
Dr Adrian Boyle, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine put the blame on overcrowded A&Es and stated that NHS ambulances get caught up in queues, creating a need for private cover.
But Union chiefs have stated that all ambulances should strive to be NHS-run.
‘We have members at these firms who tell us of overworked, untrained underpaid staff and poorly maintained ambulances,’ GMB Union Public Services National Officer Rachel Harrison said.
‘The money spent on them should have gone on recruitment of NHS ambulance staff and new vehicles.’
A spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: ‘The NHS is investing in the ambulance service.
‘Earlier this year we announced a £36million funding boost to buy 256 new vehicles.’
ion funding boost to buy 256 new vehicles.’