Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spending over £200,000 on taxis for patients

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the biggest spenders on taxis for patients in the NHS, according to new figures. In the year 2014-15 it spent £211,892 on transporting patients by taxi.

It is one of several trusts across the country to spend more than £200,000 on taxis.

Patients are transferred by private taxi when they are too ill, frail or unable to travel to and from appointments by themselves.

A taxi may be paid for by the NHS if there is a shortage of patient transport services at the hospital, including ambulances or car drivers.

The Patients Association has criticised the amount being spent by hospital trusts on taxis. It argues that hospital transport could be used more effectively without having to waste money on private taxis.

A spokesman from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it saw around 1.5 million patients every year.

We have a contract with a patient transport provider who normally carries eligible patients with a medical need to and from the hospital. This is backed up by a contract taxi service to provide ad hoc transportation, including for some patients - this may be due to special circumstances or high demand on the usual patient transport vehicles.

– Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust spokesman