THOUSANDS of pounds is being spent by the NHS on taxi fares for patients.
St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs St Helens and Whiston Hospital, spent £71,141 in 2014/15 on taxis to take patients to and from appointments.
The trust spent the most out of all the trusts in Merseyside, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre figures, but no way near the £3.6m Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spent.
A spokesman for St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Many of our patients make their own way to and from our hospitals.
“For those that are unable to do so we provide transport and, in most cases, this is through the North West ambulance patient transport service and the Welsh ambulance service.
“We endeavour to do all we can to ensure that our patients’ needs are met and that patient flow is unaffected by transport arrangements. In cases where these services are not appropriate or available, the use of a taxi is necessary and can often be the most cost effective solution.
“We also arrange transport between our two hospital sites and on behalf of other NHS organisations, which is recharged at a later date. These costs are included in the overall figure.
“We closely monitor all transport costs and keep the use of taxis to a minimum.”