‘Shock’ at ambulance report

An ambulance
An ambulance

A report criticising the level of cleanliness in ambulances locally ‘shocked me to the bone’, a local councillor has said.

Alderman Arnold Hatch revealed he was very shocked to hear that spot checks by a watchdog had raised cleanliness issues in some ambulances and stations.

Alderman Arnold Hatch.

Alderman Arnold Hatch.

Lasts week the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) found that Craigavon Station ‘fell below the required quality standards’. The watchdog found that basic hygiene, cleaning and planned maintenance of the ambulance stations was ‘sub-optimal’.

Their report added that the provision and cleanliness of hand hygiene facilities in the stations was inadequate. Also the standard of cleanliness and storage of reusable patient equipment in the station and ambulances was poor.

“Waste was not disposed of correctly, waste bins were dirty and temporary closure mechanisms on sharps boxes were not in place,” the report revealed.

Alderman Hatch said: “I expect the same level of cleanliness as in the hospital so this Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) report shocked me to the bone.

“No doubt the NI Ambulance Service will have reasons for allowing albeit inadvertently this situation to develop following these spot checks.

“The mounting pressures both financial and demand in the Southern Trust Area Hospitals are well documented and staff are struggling to keep ahead of everything, but I believe they have taken their ‘eye of the ball’ as regards the safety and cleanliness of the Ambulances hygiene facilities, sharps boxes etc, etc,.

“Some responsibility must also rest with the management of the Ambulances and the depot.

“The secondment of a senior practitioner with experience in infection prevention and control, governance and assurance is to be welcomed and I hope that these special measures will only be required for a short period of time” Alderman Arnold Hatch concluded.

Local UUP representatives have asked for a meeting with the new chief executive of the Southern Trust and will be seeking discussions with the local Ambulance Service.