The transport of patients to and from hospital for kidney dialysis cost the Health Service Executive €10m last year.

Figures obtained by RTÉ News show that in 2007, €600,000 was spent on transporting dialysis patients between the Midlands and Dublin.

The HSE paid for taxis, private ambulances and mini-buses for 1,150 kidney patients in 2007. 175 patients provided their own transport.

Over 90 patients travelled from one HSE region to another for treatment.

Some patients travelled outside their own region to avail of services not available at their own hospital.

Others had to travel because of a lack of capacity at their own hospital.

Last year some 20 patients travelled from the midlands to Dublin three times a week for dialysis, costing the HSE €616,000.

Currently Tullamore Midlands Regional Hospital cannot pay staff to run five dialysis stations which lie idle at its 17-station unit.