Inter Law – Ambulance Risk – Latest Survey

Survey: Ambulances pose a super-bug risk – 26/11/2007Super-bug MRSA can be spread by dirty ambulances – with slack sanitation procedures opening the way to future outbreaks and medical negligence compensation claims.

This is the assertion of trade union Unison today, following a nationwide survey asking ambulance staff about the issue.

“Urgent” action on the matter is required in order to lessen the infection risk, officials said – with staff only giving vehicles a “quick mop out” rather than specialist cleaners keeping them clean.

National officer for ambulance staff at Unison Sam Oestreicher said: “Ambulance cleanliness is a key factor in the battle against healthcare-related infections and the standards laid down should be strictly applied and monitored.

“In many trusts, ambulance crews are responsible for cleaning their own vehicles and this is a waste of their time and training – they should be out there saving lives, not mopping out the back of a dirty ambulance.”

Responding to the survey, health minister Ben Bradshaw commented: “The available evidence does not suggest that ambulances are a major source of infection, but tackling healthcare-associated infections is an NHS-wide issue.

“The Ambulance Service Association has issued guidance and we expect trusts to follow this.”

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