Welsh Ambulance Service uses ultrasonic atomisers in fight against COVID

The Welsh Ambulance Service have a new weapon in the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic – ultrasonic atomisers.

The innovation was designed to combat biological and chemical warfare and has now been adapted for commercial and healthcare use.

In March 2020, the Welsh Ambulance Service sought a better way to rapidly disinfect their ambulances. It needed to be quicker to increase ambulance availability, but still effective and safe. The service partnered with SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) and the Government’s facilities at DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) at Porton Down. Nearly 300 proposals from around the world were considered and assessed, but after six months of testing and trials they were happy that they had found the winner.

The ultrasonic atomisers are supplied by UK manufacturer, Hygiene Pro Clean Ltd.

Jamie Borgeat, Managing Director, said, “With our system and support, the ambulances are safer and back in service sooner. We’re proud to contribute to the fantastic work the ambulance service does, saving lives and helping all of us when we need help most.”

The testing and trials carried out by the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust were the most rigorous of their kind, and the process has seen SBRI and WAST being nominated for a prestigious St David Award for Innovation, Science and Technology. Mr Borgeat continued, “We’re delighted that our system for effective decontamination has proven its worth in such a painstaking, meticulous and thorough process. To get the thumbs up from the MOD, SBRI, ambulance staff and infection control specialists is a feather in our cap. We can’t wait to share this with other ambulance services and healthcare providers.”

The Welsh Ambulance Service will be deploying the system across their Make Ready Depots, where ambulances are cleaned and replenished before returning to service. The new technology reduces the time to deep clean and disinfect an ambulance from over two hours to around 30 minutes. It will be used after the pandemic as a quick and efficient way to deep clean vehicles and eliminate all pathogens, including Norovirus, E-coli and MRSA. The system is also capable of deployment for the decontamination of offices, facilities and call centres.

Louise Colson, Head of Infection Prevention and Control at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said, “We set out to find the best system to quickly and safely clean and disinfect our ambulances and we are happy that we have achieved this. Working with Hygiene Pro Clean gets our vehicles back on the road sooner and creates the safest possible environment for staff and patients.”

Claire Roche, Executive Director of Quality and Nursing at the Welsh Ambulance Service, added, “This investment demonstrates our determination to continuously raise standards and to assess, interrogate and integrate cutting-edge technology to find safer and more efficient ways to improve outcomes.”