A MOVE to a second temporary ambulance depot in Enniskillen on September 18 has raised staff concerns about the health and safety of patients, The Impartial Reporter understands.
Paramedics and ambulance drivers have been based at a temporary building on the site of the former Erne Hospital for around three years while a new £4.5 million ambulance station is built.
With weeks to go until the facility is expected to be completed up to 60 staff will soon have to work out of three mobile cabins (pictured above) after a licensing arrangement with South West College expired. The college is progressing on plans to build its new £25 million state of the art campus at the site.  There are fears that the move, which is yards away from the ambulance station’s current base and new building, will have a “negative impact” on the service’s response to emergency calls.
Sources claim the new temporary base will not have a facility to allow the cleaning of the service’s six intermediate care vehicles, five ambulances and three response cars citing concerns over infection control.
Staff were told the news during a station meeting on Tuesday night in which concerns were expressed over the plans.
It’s also claimed that the new location does not have the appropriate infrastructure to ensure vehicles are fully charged, does not have an adequate communications system, with no tannoy system, phones or radio, and does not have locker room facilities for staff. 
It’s understood the cabins and two portable toilets arrived on Tuesday while temporary tarmac was laid last Friday with sources indicting that up to £80,000 of public money has been spent on the move.
The three mobile cabins will include a dining/sitting area, a store and two offices.
“It is absolutely ridiculous,” said a source, describing the move as “unnecessary.”
South West College has said it has been liaising with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service since the purchase of the Erne site from the Western Health and Social Care Trust in March 2015.
Representatives from the college have held teleconferences to co ordinate the projects ever since.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for South West College said: “The college is delighted to have been able to help them [Northern Ireland Ambulance Service] with temporary accommodation through a licensing arrangement on the South West College site while advancing their own project build plans.
“The college has extended the licensing deadline of June 2017 on several occasions and would continue to do so, were it not for the tendering timelines impacting on us,” she said.
The spokeswoman said the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received planning permission on January 21, 2016 and mobilised their contractor Donaghmore Construction on 24 October, 2016 for a 44 week programme. The tender for the new college campus, she explained, was issued on June 30, 2017. 
“This process has included management of health and safety issues with the college providing access onto the site for contractors to carry out site inspections/surveys.
“The college is excited to see the site being fully developed and the two new projects sitting side by side on this regenerated site,” she said. 
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was contacted for a comment.

In a statement, a spokesman said: "NIAS are very pleased that our new station is nearing completion and we will soon be able to serve the local community of Enniskillen and surrounding areas from a purpose built facility.

"The South West Regional College is also developing the Erne site for their new facility and these are all very worthwhile projects for the county.

"Unfortunately we do have to plan for a short term decant and part of that planning will be to address and negate any issues that would potentially adversely impact on patients or service provision. Ambulance Service managers and our contractors will be working to minimise the decant period so that it is only as long as is necessary.

"NIAS envisages the decant happening towards the end of this month and will use the intervening period to address issues and concerns such as those raised in your query."