New Seven-Year Asteral Select Contract with Epsom and St Helier University NHS Trust

Asteral is pleased to announce a new Asteral Select partnership with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. The service, which commenced on 1st April 2017, includes a comprehensive asset replacement programme as well as the managed maintenance of 77 clinical imaging systems.

Within the first eighteen months of the new service patients will benefit from the replacement of nineteen mobile and fixed systems, a DR upgrade on two x-ray rooms, as well as the supply of two service efficiency ultrasound units.  This initial investment of £2.25M in new technologies is being co-ordinated by Asteral’s vendor-neutral experts with demonstrations already underway to support each clinical team select the most appropriate equipment for their patients.

In advance of equipment being replaced the service includes the high-quality planned preventative and reactive maintenance of all clinical imaging systems including three CT & MR scanners, a cardiac cath lab, twenty x-ray units and seventeen ultrasounds.  All maintenance activities are being performance-managed by the single point-of-contact Asteral Service Centre which is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday as standard.  Maintenance is being delivered by a flexible combination of original equipment manufacturers and independent service organisations (ISO) including Asteral’s on-site engineering team.

David Rolfe, Asteral’s CEO, explained “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals to ensure they have the latest diagnostic technology for their patients.  The managed equipment service is a flexible and cost effective way for the hospital to invest in high-quality care facilities as part of a sustainable long-term plan.”

Darren Rees, Procurement Project Manager at the Trust, said: “To have our Radiology capital plan agreed for the next seven years is a massive benefit and one which allows our Radiology staff to plan equipment evaluations and installations in advance – a comfortable position for everyone involved.  This agreement alleviates the need for Procurement and Radiology staff to go through the capital bidding process on each piece of equipment; relieves us of the burden of managing the numerous maintenance agreements we had previously; and significantly lowers our risk in terms of equipment failure.”

Head of Radiology Services, Mina Deved, added: “The Radiology managed equipment service will provide valuable support to the Radiology team in managing equipment replacement projects and is a cost-effective solution for equipment maintenance and breakdowns.  In addition, a newly-refurbished Radiology department with state-of-the-art equipment to replace all ageing equipment will offer improved patient experience with access to high-quality imaging and greatly improved staff morale to encourage recruitment and retention of existing staff.”

To hear more about the equipment demonstrations and installations at the Trust, follow Asteral on Twitter @AsteralUK.

Photograph courtesy of Darren Rees.

Two of three new radiotherapy systems now in at the Royal Derby Hospital

As part of their 10-year Asteral Select managed equipment service, Asteral has now delivered and installed two brand new linear accelerators to the Royal Derby Hospital, part of Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  The state-of-the-art equipment will support the Trust’s skilled multi-disciplinary team and ensure the continued provision of a comprehensive specialist consultant based service for the assessment, treatment and follow-up of cancer patients. The third and final Varian Truebeam linear accelerator will be installed and ready for clinical use by the end of this year.

The linac replacement plan started in January 2016, with the first new system going live for clinical use in August. The second decommissioning process started in September, with installation of the second new system taking place in December 2016. This July will see the decommissioning of the third and final system and will see the third new machine installed and ready to use by the end of this year.

In conjunction with the three Truebeam scanners, the Trust have also purchased an ARIA® Oncology Information System and an Eclipse™ Treatment Planning System. ARIA is a comprehensive information and image management solution that combines radiation, medical and surgical oncology information into a complete, oncology-specific electronic medical record, allowing the user to manage their patient’s entire journey from initial diagnosis to post-treatment follow-up. Eclipse™ is an integrated and comprehensive treatment planning system. With an intuitive Windows-based interface, designed to increase productivity for clinicians using simplified data settings and easy drag and drop functionality.  With the Trust’s new Varian kit, Eclipse works hand-in-hand with the ARIA oncology information system making workflow smooth, integrated and seamless. As Varian takes radiation treatment to the next level, Eclipse is designed to advance along with it, helping to aid cancer treatment using the latest in technologies.

Lorna MacDonald, Radiotherapy Services Manager, said “The machines have made a huge difference to us. They have in-built technology to provide imaging during the treatment, which means we can provide much more targeted treatment. It also means we can deliver more advanced treatment. Our patients seem very happy with the new machines.”

Steve Liptrot, from Uttoxeter, has just completed treatment for prostate cancer with the new machines. He stated “I’ve been very impressed with the machines. It’s all been positive. My experience of the hospital and treatment has been second to none.”

Around 40 patients a day are treated by each machine, for a variety of cancers.

Asteral Select delivers UK-first for UHL’s Imaging Department

On Saturday 5th November, University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) in partnership with Asteral, took delivery of a brand new, state-of-the-art MRI relocatable unit, a UK-first delivery for the Imaging Department at UHL as well as a first in the history of Asteral. This relocatable unit replaces the Trust’s old trailer via their 18 year Asteral Select contract, which has already seen a wave of replacements take place at UHL this year.

On Friday 10th February the unit was officially opened at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) by one of the Trust’s patients Luke Swain. Luke has been a patient of UHL’s since the age of nine when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Now twenty-two he has had regular MRI scans and has got to know the department and staff very well over the years. The opening ceremony saw the cutting of the ribbon, followed by a food and drinks reception attended by key members of staff from the hospital as well as some of Luke’s family. Asteral also gifted the Trust with a cake to celebrate the event.

The unit was constructed at Lamboo Mobile Medical’s factory in the Netherlands for five months and houses a Siemens MRI scanner which was delivered and partly installed in preparation of delivery. The 1.5T MAGNETOM Aera offers a more comfortable experience as well as many technological advances. The detailed images it provides can enhance diagnostic confidence – giving you one of the highest quality MRI exams available today.

The delivery to the LRI was a complicated process, managed by Lamboo Mobile Medical, a global company specialising in the engineering and manufacturing of Mobile and Modular healthcare solutions and logistics company, Westdijk Transport. The transportation of the extra-large load, which involved a ferry trip from Holland to the UK, was four metres wide and twenty metres long, but successfully made it to the outside of the Physiotherapy department at the LRI where it has taken permanent residence.

Historically, MRI system replacements can cause months of disruption to hospitals and their patient waiting lists, however, by purchasing a relocatable unit, the LRI were able to continue a normal, undisrupted service to their patients. Without onsite disruption, Lamboo worked with Asteral, Siemens Healthineers and the Trust’s Estates department to allow 90% of the installation to take place at Lamboo’s factory in the Netherlands.

The Estates team at the Trust were heavily involved with the installation process, ensuring the slab that the relocatable unit would rest on was able to support the unit. Special concrete flooring also had to be laid to ensure the unit was safe and level for scanning and could integrate with the hospital’s infrastructure.

Francesca Evans from Asteral’s Implementation team commented, “Asteral are really excited about this relocatable unit, the first on our portfolio. The collaborative working by all teams; Asteral, Lamboo, Westdijk, Siemens Healthineers and UHL has worked really well and it’s great to see all our hard work paid off now that the Trust are scanning patients.”

Rajinder Sandhu, UHL’s MRI Superintendent Radiographer commented: “This project is a culmination of months of hard work by a team of experts collaborating from across different parts of Europe. It’s a very innovative approach to increase our capacity and many other trusts are looking at using as a model going forward.”

Matthew Archer, Head of Operations for Clinical Support and Imaging at Leicester’s Hospitals, adds: “Historically, this kind of project would have caused months of disruption to our Imaging department so we are all delighted it was up and running within weeks.”

HFMA Annual Conference 2016

Asteral enjoyed yet another successful exhibition at HFMA’s Annual Conference, which took place between Wednesday 7th and Friday 9th December 2016 at the Hilton London Metropole, where more than 600 delegates attended.

The three-day event was opened by motivational success speaker – Joy Marsden, and was this year themed ‘Step Up’. Delegates attended workshops and seminars focused on how the NHS could step up to 2020 and beyond. The Asteral team used the opportunity to promote primarily Asteral Select services, a vendor-independent managed service that reduces costs to Trusts by at least 15% per year less than self-providing the same services. It was also a great opportunity to spread brand awareness to people visiting the stand wanting to learn more about Asteral. The majority of these visitors being those who work in Finance departments in the NHS, working with restricted budgets and therefore exploring innovative ways to save money.

The conference concluded on the Friday afternoon, with the exhibition prize draw which took place on Asteral’s stand with the lucky winners receiving prizes from holiday vouchers to champagne hampers.

Asteral’s first Heart Rhythm Congress

From 10th – 12th October, Asteral exhibited at Heart Rhythm Congress (HRC) for the first time ever. Over a thousand delegates attended the Cardiology event which took place at The ICC, Birmingham. As always, Asteral had a barista bar on hand to attract the delegates who were able to talk to our sales representatives about an Asteral Select Cath Lab managed service. With Asteral’s stand located right next to the ‘Interactive Area’, this ensured a constant flow of delegates visiting the stand showing interest.

The four-day annual event is the largest heart rhythm event in the UK, providing unrivalled opportunity for health care professionals interested in the management of arrhythmias to share effective practice, show case innovation, learn about latest developments and network with UK & international delegates.

Asteral’s Consumables Managed Services Business Manager, Ruben Olivier, was thrilled at the success of our first time exhibiting at this event, where Asteral representatives were able to establish new and develop existing relationships within the Cardiology community. Ruben stated: “When you have first-hand experience of working in this field, you understand the requirements in a hospital environment which is why Asteral’s Cardiology managed service has been developed with such precision”.

If you missed us at HRC and would like to discuss how our services could help your organisation, please call us on 0118 900 8000.

Asteral Installs First of Four New DR Rooms in Leicester

Asteral, in partnership with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has installed the first of four new digital x-ray rooms at Glenfield Hospital’s Radiology department. The Samsung-manufactured GC85, distributed by MIS, is one of four rooms that will be installed at the hospital in the next year as part of their Asteral Select contract.

The state-of-the-art Samsung GC85 room features two wireless DR detectors which lead their class with a DQE of around 80%. The room comes with fully automated movement as standard in all of its key elements including tube, table and erect bucky. With anatomical programming the system offers virtually ’hands off‘ Radiography capable of almost 1,000 different protocols.

Nick Clark, Radiology Site Manager of the Glenfield hospital commented; “With its innovative automation aimed at reducing RSI, its ease of use and novel features like S-Align and S-Share allows Samsung to be at the forefront of ground breaking technology. These features along with others show a real advance in plain film room technology.”

Francesca Evans, Asteral’s Chief Technologist commented; “This is an exhilarating time to be installing new pioneering digital x-ray equipment. Any new advances in technology that can help with RSI and improve diagnostic quality to provide the best for our patients is a must! We are looking forward to working with MIS over the next year to install more of this excellent product to the Glenfield team.”

Pictured are: Tony Rogers, MIS Account Manager – Midlands; Nick Clarke, Superintendent – Glenfield; Amanda Douglas, Senior Radiographer; Lucy Lewis, Deputy Superintendent Radiographer; Phil Jones, MIS Account Manager – North; Francesca Evans, Asteral – Chief Technologist.

Consumable Management Service

Download Leicester’s Consumable Management Service case study here.

Asteral has the proven capability and capacity to deliver a reliable, efficient, and patient-focussed clinical consumable management service (CMS). Asteral’s CMS which forms part of an outsourced managed service can save NHS Trusts up to 30% on their clinical consumable and device expenditure on a vendor-neutral basis.

Asteral has designed its own CMS IT infrastructure to provide integrated procurement, inventory management and procedure-level costings for Cardiology and Interventional Radiology services. Asteral is one of the largest independent buyers of clinical consumables and devices in the UK and has achieved economies of scale that lead to real procurement savings and cost avoidance for our NHS customers. Asteral has a catalogue of over 3,000 clinical consumables and devices sourced from 65 suppliers in line with its ethos of vendor-independence and clinical choice. Asteral’s CMS dovetails clinical flexibility with operational efficiencies without compromising research and innovation.

“Asteral has made our clinical services more efficient and more sustainable. They have improved the quality of our management data and significantly reduced our costs without compromising on quality or innovation.”
Darren Turner, General Manager, Cardiology – UHL

Asteral Select – CMS Savings (£K)

£1,255K Managed Service & Outsourcing Efficiencies
£254K Cost Avoidance
£898K Procurement Savings & Buying Power

Longstanding Partnership

Responsible for the Glenfield, General and Royal Infirmary hospitals, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) is one of the biggest and busiest NHS Trusts in the country. UHL serves the one million residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as well as nationally-recognised specialist services including Cardiology and Interventional Radiology.

Asteral’s original contract with UHL was signed in 2003 and was the first vendorindependent managed equipment service (MES) covering the funding, procurement, installation and management of £5M of Radiology and Cardiology equipment. Building upon the savings and efficiencies achieved, the Trust awarded Asteral a second MES in June 2007 for a further £24M of equipment and associated facilities.

University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL)

In 2015, as an integrated part of the longstanding managed service at UHL, Asteral launched its innovative CMS. Asteral now manages all the clinical consumables and devices for nine interventional catheter laboratories across UHL and the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre.

Asteral’s CMS ensures that high-quality clinical consumables and devices are provided to the Trust’s Interventional Radiology, Interventional Cardiology, and Electrophysiology suites in the right quantities at the right time. This enables UHL’s clinical teams to deliver compliant, sustainable, and patientcentric services.
In addition to providing operational efficiencies Asteral’s CMS has reduced UHL’s consumables and devices spend by 29% compared to the previous year – a saving of £2.4M.
Without compromising clinical choice or vendor-led innovation, significant cash savings were achieved through Asteral’s:

  • procurement expertise and buying power,
  • cost avoidance techniques, and
  • managed service and outsourcing efficiencies.

Delivering Efficiencies & Innovations

Asteral’s CMS ensures that clinical consumables and devices are provided in the quantities required for UHL’s high-quality clinical services to be sustained. The CMS includes full-time on-site stock management staff as well as a complete inventory management system which ensures there is zero stock obsolescence and a reduced on-site stock holding. Asteral’s local team is supported by a central procurement and logistics function to further reduce UHL’s overheads. As consumables or devices are ordered a synchronous order for replacement stock is automatically generated and the associated cost assigned to the Trust’s patient-level costing system (PLICS) increasing efficiency and eliminating stock obsolescence.

UHL Efficiencies:

  • No stock wastage by managing stock expiry.
  • Real-time device consumption records.
  • Reduced on-site stock and associated storage facilities.
  • Reduced re-implantation rates through device lifetime tracking.

Asteral’s CMS encourages NHS providers to: explore latest technologies, new products, and participate in clinical trials.

UHL Innovations:

  • Procedure-level costings through handheld scanners.
  • Introduction of leadless pacemakers.
  • First in UK & Ireland performing Topera® FIRMap® procedures.
  • One of three UK sites performing novel Acutus Medical AcQMap™
    3D mapping procedures.
  • First site in Europe to perform robotic ablation.
  • Limited release site for Biosense Webster Carto® nMarQ®.
  • Limited release site for Thermocool SmartTouch® SF.
  • Training centre for St Jude Medical EnSite™ Array™.
  • Limited release site for St Jude Medical EnSite™ Precision.
  • All the cardiac interventional labs have access to integrated OCT
    co registration.
  • Screening centre for Boston Scientific Sub-Q implantable
    cardioverter-defibrillators.

UHL Annual Procedure Stats

1,044 Pacemakers
208 Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD)
108 Cardiac resynchronisation therapy pacemakers (CRT-P)
186 Cardiac resynchronisation therapy defibrillators (CRT-D)
130 Transcatheter aortic valve implantations (TAVI) both apical and trans-femoral
3,500+ Percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI)

Asteral delivers the first of three linear accelerators to Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Asteral has delivered the first of three Linear Accelerators to the Royal Derby Hospital. Once complete, Asteral will have replaced three old systems, all with Varian TrueBeam units as well as having completely refurbished the bunkers and control rooms within the 22-month schedule.

The Linear Accelerator replacement started on 18th January; with the first of three old systems being decommissioned. The first TrueBeam has now been delivered with the initial installation complete, ahead of schedule. Secondary commission is now beginning. The aim is for the new Varian system to go live for treatment in August 2016. The decommissioning of the second system will commence in September.

This is the first fixed item delivered to Derby as part of their Asteral Select contract, and it follows on from an extensive design and build programme managed by Asteral’s Implementation Team. Asteral is distinctive in having a dedicated in-house design and implementation team who will work with your estates and clinical departments to plan and project-manage the installation, commissioning and training on all equipment, as well as associated build enabling works.

Kevin Downs, Derby Teaching Hospitals’ Director of Finance and Performance stated: “Following the successful introduction of our Managed Equipment Service by Asteral in April 2015, the Trust has experienced a general improvement in equipment availability and less downtime across the spectrum.

We are now pleased to announce that during the first quarter of 2016 Asteral has, in conjunction with the staff in our Radiotherapy Department, successfully replaced the first of our Linear Accelerator machines with new Varian Radiotherapy machinery to enhance our patient treatment services. This has been accomplished with no disruption to the delivery of the current level of patient services while the programme has been undertaken and now leaves the Trust better placed to deliver improved patient services into the future.”

The new systems will allow the Trust to tailor treatment of cancer patients to a higher degree of accuracy and effectiveness. The Asteral Select contract has benefitted the Trust as it has allowed the Trust’s staff to continue to focus on patient care and to deliver patient treatment with the latest technology available.

New pharmacy robot at UHL

Asteral is pleased to announce it has installed a state-of-the-art ARX UK Vmax robotic pharmacy at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The Vmax has been provided through the University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust’s 18-year Asteral Select contract, which supports the Trusts’ clinical teams in Radiology, Cardiology and Pharmacy.

The new robotic pharmacy installation means that the Trust will benefit from technology enhancements including a user-friendly touchscreen and barcode system which will ensure instant access to stock levels, space availability and expiring stock information for the most accurate stock management. The pharmacy has the ability to collect eight packets at once – a substantial increase over the old robot. The self-cleaning equipment is also quieter and is 50% more space efficient at storing packets, opening up further storage space for the Trust.

Paul Couchman, Pharmacy Service Manager at Leicester’s Hospitals, commented that: “the ability to update and refresh our automated dispensing system through the Asteral Select contract has enabled us to install and utilise the latest technology in order to continue to meet the dispensing demands of the hospital. The solution delivered has made best use of available space within the department whilst giving increased performance and improved medicines storage. The re-location of the automated dispensing cabinets has also improved both the dispensing workflow and quality of the dispensary environment”.

New ultrasounds installed at UHL

Since December 2014, Asteral has successfully installed 23 new ultrasound systems at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL).  These installations have been for a range of departments including Echocardiology, Antenatal, Vascular and General Medicine across the Trust’s three main sites – Leicester General Hospital, Royal Infirmary, and Glenfield Hospital.

Throughout the vendor-neutral selection process Asteral has organised a number of demonstrations from across the supplier base.  The Trust was able to evaluate the range of equipment available and with the impartial advice of Asteral’s modality experts selected the right equipment to optimise clinical outcomes and meet patient needs.  Through their Asteral Select contract UHL has installed a mix of ultrasounds from across the supplier base including GE, Philips and Hitachi.

Vendor-independence is just one of the benefits of an Asteral Select contract.  To find out more please click here.