DIRTY ambulances and ambulance stations have left patients across Lancashire at risk of C.Difficile and MRSA, according to a damning report.

Care Quality Commission’s inspection of the North West Ambulance Service concluded the trust’s own cleaning routines and internal inspections were not up to scratch.

The service has responded that “stringent measures” have been now been put in place, based on the report’s recommendations.

The report, published yesterday, is based on unannounced inspections of 13 locations across the north west, including eight ambulance stations, and 22 vehicles.

It concluded NWAS failed to meet new regulations to protect patients from the risks of infection.

Inspections found nine ambulances out of 22 inspected to be in a very poor condition with visible dirt on the floors, walls, surfaces and door frames.

The remaining 13 were “not found to have been cleaned to a good standard” with all containing some areas of dirt.

The report said: “It was clear from the level of dirt these vehicles were not cleaned on a frequent basis.

“All crew reported that none had had a deep clean in the past year or more.

"Staff also reported that they did not have allocated time to effectively clean the ambulances.”

One ambulance at Stockport Ambulance Station was seen to have stains, which appeared to be blood stains, on the walls as well as visible dirt on the floor and walls.

The report also said that the majority of ambulance stations visited contained sluice areas that were untidy and contained mops and buckets that were extremely dirty and not appropriately stored.

There was no consistent standard frequency for changing mop heads.

NWAS said changes made included more investment, meaning the deep cleaning of all vehicles by mid September and that specialist infection control professionals will be checking cleanliness across the service.

Professor Kevin Mackway Jones, medical director at NWAS said: ““We are taking this inspection report extremely seriously.

"The safety of both our patients and staff is an absolute priority to us and we have already put a number of measures in place to ensure that our vehicles meet the highest standards of cleanliness.”