UK: Rapid sanitising technology improves ambulance cleaning times and standards

A rapid call, launched in response to COVID-19, has trialled and installed a new method which cuts costs and cleaning times across the Welsh Ambulance Service

The coronavirus pandemic prompted an urgent need to find quicker, more efficient ways to clean ambulances. After transporting a patient suspected of having COVID-19, an ambulance cannot be used until it is fully sanitised. Previously, a full clean could take up to two hours, adding strain and delay on an already busy and pressurised service.

In March 2020, the Welsh Government approached the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) for help in finding innovative solutions to speed up the cleaning of ambulances. Shortly afterwards, a call was launched, receiving over 200 responses within seven days. Hygiene Pro Clean was one of just 12 suppliers selected for testing and their product is now being adopted by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST).

Achieving efficiencies

Hygiene Pro Clean have designed an ultrasonic atomisation delivery system which disperses a highly effective decontamination solution (Decon Pro Clean) in a soft plume-shaped spray; this ensures uniform distribution of the liquid to minimise overspray and waste. The system, combined with HPC’s training and protocols, provides an effective decontamination of any void or space. Adopting this technology has brought about many savings for WAST, including reducing the time it takes to clean an ambulance as well as achieving significant staffing efficiencies – enabling crew to undertake other duties while the ambulance is being cleaned.

Award-winning collaboration

The call – a collaboration between the Welsh Government, WAST, and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Centre drew upon experience and expertise from DASA and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to find and test possible cleaning solutions. Input from DASA included the framework for promoting, managing and reviewing proposals, enabling the team to accelerate the project from discovery to physical trials within just six weeks.

To celebrate the success of this call, SBRI and WAST received a St David Award for Innovation, Science and Technology in 2021.

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