Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said she is concerned after alarms were raised about the standards of cleanliness of some ambulance stations and vehicles.
The Ambulance Service will bring in a health professional to advise about better hygiene after visits to 21 stations by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority last month. At least 50 per cent of the stations had issues in regards to unsatisfactory hygiene in relation to infection prevention, hygiene and cleanliness.
However, Ms Bradshaw said the outcome shows the inspection system is working.
“It is a matter of record, and has been for a frustratingly long time, the Ambulance Service is understaffed and front-line ambulance staff are operating under extraordinary pressure. The cleanliness issues arising are in many ways an inevitable consequence.
“What we are seeing here is the penalty for inaction – the Ambulance Service should have been prioritised far sooner. There is now an opportunity to do this under new leadership.
“While cleanliness issues are clearly a serious matter and of profound public concern, as well as for the workers themselves, what we do see here is the new inspection system working. It is important visits are carried out at random, at least occasionally, to see stations in regular and normal use.
“I have no doubt the Ambulance Service will work hard to address the issues, but we do need to reflect it continues to be an under-resourced part of the overall health system.”