Inspectors fail 'dirty' ambulances

THE region's ambulance service has launched an “urgent and comprehensive review” of its ambulance cleaning programme after its vehicles were found to be “dirty” by a health watchdog.

THE region's ambulance service has launched an “urgent and comprehensive review” of its ambulance cleaning programme after its vehicles were found to be “dirty” by a health watchdog.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) delivered a scathing report on the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS), ordering it to immediately improve measures to prevent healthcare-associated infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

The report said: “On inspection, we found evidence that the trust has breached the regulation to protect patients, workers and others from the risks of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection.”

Some of the comments from the CQC, formerly the Healthcare Commission, included:


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“All of the patient-carrying vehicles that were seen were dirty”; “the surfaces within the vehicles were dirty and there was dust, dirt and debris inside all accessible cupboards” and “seats were grimy and high levels of dirt and dust were seen in gaps beside seats”.

The report is the latest in a series of blows for the ambulance trust, which last year was given one of the six worst ratings for the UK's 391 NHS trusts in a check on services and finances by the Healthcare Commission.

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Bosses said only one of the vehicles checked was from Norfolk and that was in the Thetford area. As reported the trust has also come under fire for the lack of doctors available at the GP out-of-hours service, a large number of directors leaving the trust and “disharmony” among staff.

The CQC's unannounced inspection included visits to seven of the trust's 100 ambulance stations, and examinations of 23 vehicles. There was a follow-up visit to check whether improvements had been made on Wednesday.

Dr Scott Turner, one of the trust's joint medical directors, said: “We are taking this inspection report extremely seriously. The safety of both our patients and staff is an absolute priority.”

The trust has pledged to ensure all ambulances are cleaned and kept clean.

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