Sunday 15 December 2019

Paramedics refuse to drive 'fungus-infested' ambulance

Deep clean bid to stop fungus. Photo:Press 22
Deep clean bid to stop fungus. Photo:Press 22

Pat Flynn

Paramedics in Co Clare are refusing to drive an ambulance which they say has a fungus infestation.

The '11 KE' registration Ford vehicle had been assigned to another station before being relocated to Ennis for use by crews there.

Soon after the ambulance arrived at the National Ambulance Service (NAS) base in Ennis, crews began to notice a large growth of fungus in one corner of the vehicle close to where the patient stretcher is located.

The six-year-old ambulance was sent away for 'deep cleaning' twice before Christmas and again this week after concerns were raised that the fungus had returned.

It's understood that the vehicle had been based in Thurles, Co Tipperary, before it was relocated to Ennis station.

After staff refused to drive the ambulance, a member of the NAS management team in the mid-west visited Ennis station and asked why the vehicle wasn't being used.

"After that visit, they still want us to drive this ambulance," one source said.

"There was a mushroom-type fungus in it when it arrived and that's why staff have refused to drive it.

"There is a health and safety issue here."

In a statement, the NAS said that all of its vehicles were maintained to the highest standards and that this included hygiene and infection control.

Read more: Row of 'at least 16 ambulances' pictured outside A&E at major hospital - with nowhere to drop off patients

"As part of these procedures, and in line with best practice, vehicles receive a deep clean and following a recent deep clean of this vehicle and during the course of a pre-shift inspection a fungus-like substance was noted in a press within the vehicle," the statement said.

"Immediate and appropriate corrective action was taken, which included the company conducting a complete deep clean on the vehicle.

"We can confirm that this is ongoing and the vehicle will not be released back into service until the NAS is satisfied that the situation has been rectified."

Irish Independent

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