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Innovation, Science and Technology award 2021 winner

During the COVID-19 pandemic an urgent need was identified by the Welsh Ambulance Service. They faced increased pressure on their services due to the extended time needed to clean ambulances thoroughly once a patient with suspected Covid 19 had been transported to hospital. The previous cleaning regime could take up to 2 hours and sometimes had to be undertaken at specialist cleaning centres, which could be some distance from the ambulance station or hospital.

Funded by Welsh Government and working with the Small Business Research Initiative Centre of Excellence, a challenge was developed to work with industry, academia, the Ministry of Defence and Innovate UK to find new solutions to improve this process. Within 6 weeks, more than 200 applications were received and some businesses were selected to develop and test their solutions on ambulances in Wales.

This project has brought about many savings including reducing the time it takes to clean an ambulance by 86%, giving staff the time to undertake other duties whilst the cleaning process is happening, and a big reduction in the cost of cleaning an ambulance. As a result of this project, work is underway to look at how learning from this project can be used in other areas, such as schools.