Private healthcare for ambulance staff

EAST ANGLIA: Ambulance bosses spent more than �150,000 on sending staff for private treatment rather than NHS healthcare, it emerged today.

EAST ANGLIA: Ambulance bosses spent more than �150,000 on sending staff for private treatment rather than NHS healthcare, it emerged today.

The Liberal Democrats, which uncovered the figures, said it was unfair staff could jump waiting lists when the public had to wait weeks or months for treatment.

However, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said staff sometimes needed treatment for injuries suffered lifting and manoeuvring patients or counselling after attending terrible road crashes or other harrowing incidents and private care was the swiftest remedy to get them back to work quickly.

Details of the spending of the trust - which handles emergencies throughout Suffolk and Essex - was revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request.

It showed more than 800 paramedics and other staff received private treatment over the past three years and the cost in the past two years was �146,955.

No figure was available for the third year when 273 staff were treated.

Most Read

Treatment was mostly physiotherapy, counselling and support, and other care.

Neither of the primary care trusts in Suffolk and Essex, or Ipswich Hospital, used private health care.

Nationally, the NHS paid �1.5m for private healthcare in the past three years with more than 3,000 staff sent to private doctors.

A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: “Our crews can sustain physical injuries and witness traumatic scenes in the course of their duties.

“As a responsible employer, we want to get them back to work as quickly as possible so they can continue to provide services to the people of the east of England, and sometimes they need physiotherapy and counselling services.”

Should ambulance staff receive private healthcare? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk