Weststar’s Negative Pressure Ambulance at the forefront of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia



    Malaysia’s Weststar Group is at the forefront of pioneering a new and advanced generation of ambulances with the introduction of the country’s first fleet of Negative Pressure Ambulances that equips medical front liners with state-of-the-art equipment and protection in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

    Handover to Selangor State Department of Health in Malaysia by Weststar Group. | Photo by Weststar Group/Press release
    Handover to Selangor State Department of Health in Malaysia by Weststar Group. | Photo by Weststar Group/Press release

     

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    The Negative Pressure ambulance is custom-built based on a Weststar Maxus V80 platform. This next generation of ambulances are specially enhanced to help safely transfer and transport COVID-19 patients. The Negative Pressure Ambulance offers a two-stage protection for front liners and first responders whereby patients are transported in a special Isolation Chamber, which is also equipped with its own negative pressure filtration system to isolate and prevent cross infection when they are being transferred to and from the ambulance.

    Widely used by medical institutions worldwide in the fight against COVID-19, especially in China and the Middle East, Negative Pressure Ambulances enable air pressure inside the ambulance to be kept beneath the barometric pressure of the outside environment. That essentially means the cabin of the ambulance becomes an air-tight sealed compartment and only outside air can flow into the cabin. The air inside the cabin will only be discharged outside the ambulance after passing through a bio-safety negative pressure exhaust purification device and cleaned via a HEPA filter, to prevent the transmission of pathogens and other infective agents. Built-in ultraviolet light, meanwhile, will carry out an automatic disinfection of the cabin after each usage.

    Internal mechanism and equipment in a Weststar's Negative Pressure Ambulance. | Infographic by Weststar Group/Press release
    Internal mechanism and equipment in a Weststar’s Negative Pressure Ambulance. | Infographic by Weststar Group/Press release

     

    “This two-stage protection minimises the possibility of any cross infection and the spread of pathogens in the process of transferring, transporting, and treating of patients with infection diseases or COVID-19, further reducing the risk faced by medical staff,” said Weststar Maxus Chief Operating Officer Julius Jonathan.

    Negative Pressure Ambulances are currently in use by both Government and private hospitals throughout the country, which includes the Selangor Health Department and the Universiti Malaya Specialist Centre. The latest organisation to procure these ambulances is Malaysia’s largest private ambulance provider First Ambulance Services, which currently operates with the strength of 44 ambulances and 140 paramedic personnel and drivers.

    He added that the cost of a Negative Pressure Ambulance is similar to that of a conventional ambulance, but its long-term advantages and versatility greatly outweighs that of the latter. While Negative Pressure Ambulances can perform the same functions of a regular ambulance, the latter is unable to do so while offering the same degree of safety and protection to both medical personnel and patients.

    A fleet of Weststar's Maxus V80 Negative Pressure Ambulance in Wuhan, China. | Photo by Weststar Group/Press release
    A fleet of Weststar’s Maxus V80 Negative Pressure Ambulance in Wuhan, China. | Photo by Weststar Group/Press release

     

    The Weststar Group is also offering comprehensive fleet management solutions which include leasing programs for the Negative Pressure Ambulances. The ambulances also come with a five-year warranty and maintenance package.

    Meanwhile, First Ambulance Services Co-Founder and Managing Director Steven Penafort said the company’s procurement of the Negative Pressure Ambulances will reinforce its services and capabilities in being able to respond to medical emergencies.

    “The V80 has proven itself as a reliable and robust transporter and ambulance. It is versatile, easy to manoeuvre and offers tremendous cabin space. We firmly believe that the use of the Negative Pressure Ambulance is the way forward to equip our personnel with state-of-the-art equipment and safety protection, over and above performing all the functions of a conventional ambulance. At below RM400,000 it is similar in pricing to that of a Type B conventional ambulance,” said Penafort.

    “Weststar Maxus’ Fleet Management Solutions also enables First Ambulance Services to enjoy significantly lower maintenance costs lower over a long-term period, allowing these savings to be reinvested into other areas of the company’s business.”

    Source: Weststar Group (Press release)