Private and voluntary ambulance services responding to emergency 999 calls cost East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) more than £7 million last year.
Figures revealed from a freedom of information request for the year 2013, show that the total expenditure on private and voluntary companies was up more than £4 million compared with the £2.9 million spent in 2012.
The service which provides emergency urgent care services for the people within Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire spent more on the use of private firms in 2013 with figures rising from £1.5 million to more than £5 million from 2012 to 2013.
A spokesman for EMAS said that the rise in use of both private and voluntary firms had come during the interim period while paramedic staff were recruited and trained.
“We have a £160 million budget and it needs to be clear that the £7 million spent does cover all five counties overall,”
He added: “It was always intended to increase our expenditure in order to put out the right level of resources where more serious calls are responded to by our EMAS staff.”
He also confirmed that the reason private companies costs were higher was because voluntary staff employed by EMAS, which included the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance, attended patients with complaints of conditions of a lesser severity, while private ambulance companies with fully-trained staff were able to attend the most series cases.
He said: “The level of service was not be compromised to our patients.”