Kelly raises concerns about stealth privatisation of patient transport
Mrs Kelly was speaking after receiving an answer to an Assembly Question which revealed Health Boards spent over £18 Million on contracts for patient transport outside of the NI Ambulance Service.
She said: “Many of us have raised concerns about the stealth privatisation of elements of our Health and Social Care Service under the Transforming Your Care Agenda. The SDLP warned against it with a motion which was passed by the Assembly in 2013 calling on the Minister to limit the involvement of private sector firms in Health Service restructuring.
“I tabled a question to Health Minister Simon Hamilton asking him to outline the extent to which Health Boards have contracted patient and client transport services outside of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service over the last number of years. I was shocked to discover that in the last year alone Boards paid over £18 Million in contracts for what are essentially private patient transport providers.
“This is deeply concerning and reflects the view that the DUP are rooting a privatisation agenda in the heart of our health service. We believe a health and social care system in public ownership focused on public health and meeting the needs of those least able to access other services is the best model. We will continue to oppose part privatisation and I will be raising this issue with the Health Minister as soon as possible.”