THE fight for cleaner ambulances to stamp out superbugs like MRSA is taking too long says a concerned health chief.

The need to improve the cleanliness of ambulances is a top priority for the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust says chief executive Anthony Marsh.

But not enough is being done quickly enough according to Tony Murrell, a non-executive director, who raised his concerns at the trust's board meeting.

He said: "One of my frustrations is that this sort of thing takes way too long. When are we going to do something about it?

"This was raised in October. Here we are nearly in March before anything starts happening."

In his report Matthew Wyse, the trust's director of clinical performance, said the trust must develop "expertise" in infection control or even employ an "infection control expert" to stamp out superbugs like MRSA and Clostridium difficile - C.diff.

The trust is in the process of developing an action plan following an audit which is now under review by the Infection Prevention and Control Committee.

Mr Wyse said "significant improvements" had already been made in making sure ambulances were clean and that crews had access to gels for hand-washing, He added: "You don't find empty soap dispensers and no hand towels. It's coming way up the priority list now."

A spokesman for the trust confirmed after the meeting that there had never been a known case of MRSA contracted in an ambulance managed by the trust and that the standards of cleanliness were already good.

Ambulances are cleaned between each new patient transported to hospital.

Chief Executive Anthony Marsh said: "I accept that there will always be things we need to do better and quicker and this is one of them but we be assured that funding arrangements will come through for next year to improve the situation."