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Eurokars Group donates new ambulance to TTSH, NCID

The multi-brand car distributorship heeded a siren call to boost the hospital’s patient care.

From left: Ong Lay Ling, group managing director, Eurokars Group; Karsono Kwee, executive chairman, Eurokars Group; Jamie Mervyn Lim, COO, TTSH and Shawn Vasoo, clinical director, NCID.


EUROKARS Group donated an ambulance to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and National Centre for Infectious Diseases (TTSH-NCID) yesterday, and in the process became the first private sector corporation to do so.

At a small, socially-distanced ceremony beside a taxi stand, Karsono Kwee, the executive chairman of the group that distributes cars for Mazda, McLaren, MG, Mini, Porsche and Rolls-Royce here, presented the fully-equipped ambulance to Jamie Mervyn Lim, the chief operating officer of TTSH, and Shawn Vasoo, the clinical director of NCID.

Mr Kwee told The Business Times that he felt the need to do something when the pandemic began to get serious. "I know that hospitals and ambulances are so busy now, ferrying all the Covid-19 patients. I was thinking that it's time for us to support them on their transportation, and make sure patients don't have to wait so long to have a vehicle ready," he said. "At the moment, the pandemic is the most important thing."

During the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, TTSH's ambulances transferred patients from NCID to Community Isolation Facilities and Community Care Facilities. They also ferried people waiting for swab test results to Swab Isolation Facilities. BT understands that at the pandemic's height, TTSH needed to make around 2,500 such trips a month, on top of the usual ambulance workload, while dealing with the additional downtime of decontaminating the vehicles after every trip.

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Mr Kwee said he decided to act as early as March, only to come up against a worldwide shortage of ambulances. It took months for the vehicle to arrive, and months more to add emergency and life support facilities. It also has trolley bed access and a retractable wheelchair lift.

While the pandemic ebbs and flows, TTSH will use the new vehicle to shuttle patients within the hospital campus or to other hospitals for treatment. "Pandemic or not, our ambulances play a critical role in supporting our patient movement," Dr Lim said. "We are extremely delighted and appreciative of Eurokars Group's generous donation of an ambulance to TTSH-NCID."

Mr Kwee has a habit of giving. He has contributed to endowment funds for financially needy students, regularly donates to the Straits Times Pocket Money Fund, has given four vehicles to various groups, and told BT he is donating another one next month.

TTSH's new ambulance is actually the second vehicle that Eurokars has given the hospital. It may not be the last. BT overheard Mr Kwee's reply to the thanks expressed by Dr Lim and Dr Vasoo while the three were in conversation. "This is not the end," he said.

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