HSE spends €500k in mid-west on wheelchairs

The HSE spent €511,260 in the mid-west on providing wheelchairs last year — four times more than a neighbouring old health board area.

The authority’s spending on wheelchairs for people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary increased from €491,231 in 2010 to €511,260 last year. This was in sharp contrast to the expenditure in Roscommon, Galway and Mayo where €113,971 was spent in 2010 and €108,932 in 2011.

The HSE has been requested to review its expenditure of aids and appliances in the mid-west after Cllr Brian Meaney expressed concern about the spending of over €500,000 on wheelchairs in the region.

Services are now delivering in the HSE Forum West region, which includes nine counties stretching from Donegal to Clare.

Clare County Councillor Brian Meaney, who is concerned about the expenditure of €511,260 on wheelchairs in the mid-west has requested the HSE to conduct urgent review.

The Green Party councillor said it was important for the HSE to ensure that mobile appliances were not being taken by individuals for resale as scrap metal.

He said there were unconfirmed reports this practice was being undertaken by some s people.

“I can see no reason why wheelchairs can’t be used again once proper infection control procedures are carried out. Given the pressure on the HSE to reduce its costs, every effort should be made to reduce spending once it doesn’t affect frontline services and patient care,” he added.

HSE procurement official Philip Browne confirmed the HSE had proposed a single mini-competition with award by lots based on the four regional director of operations areas in order to meet requirement and to achieve the best value for money.

Homecare Medical was the successful supplier for this service in the HSE West. The duration of this contract is for an initial period of 24 months with the option to extend on a 12 month basis up to a maximum of 48 months.

“This contract awards supports and supplements existing recycling services and will ensure high standards in infection control and appliance service and maintenance.

“This contract will also support the movement of aids and appliances to ensure equity of service for clients. It will increase recycling levels and reduce the need for the purchase of new appliances,” he said.

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