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.

New Asteral Select contract with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Asteral is pleased to announce a partnership with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in which it will provide diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy managed equipment.

The 10-year Asteral Select contract, which has an optional 10-year extension, will include the robust management and high-quality maintenance of four linear accelerators and more than 160 radiology assets through the single point of contact Asteral Service Centre; the provision of a clinical consumables service; and a significant asset replacement programme which will see 18 new systems delivered by the end of the year.

Two fully-equipped mammography trailers have already been delivered to the Royal Derby Hospital, and several other state-of-the art clinical systems will be handed over before the end of the year. These include eight ultrasounds, a linear accelerator and associated oncology management and treatment planning systems, six x-ray systems and a gamma camera. All have been selected on a vendor-independent basis.

Derby Teaching Hospitals works to an ethos of ‘Taking Pride in Caring’, and aims to be a beacon for all that is best in 21st century healthcare. Asteral believes this contract supports that vision.

Kevin Downs, Director of Finance and Performance for the Trust, said: “We are delighted that the managed equipment service has now gone live and that staff and patients are benefitting from the investment in new technology – an investment made possible due to the financial savings achieved through a long-term partnership with the UK’s leading vendor-independent MES provider.”

Stephen Hodgson, Asteral’s Managing Director, commented: “Asteral is delighted to have Derby as our latest managed equipment service customer. We share the Trust’s vision of taking pride in the service we deliver and epitomising quality.  Our Asteral Select service is an industry-leading solution that will support Derby deliver a safe, high-performing and efficient patient service.”

New mobile breast units improve services for Derbyshire women

Two new mobile breast units are to go out on the screening rounds in Derbyshire this autumn.

The brand new vans – one with a pink interior and one with blue – replace the ones which have been in operation for the last 15 years and are the first major piece of equipment replaced by the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust through a managed equipment service provided with Asteral. A new MRI scanner for Derby patients is expected in the New Year.

They carry state-of-the-art digital machines, which work more quickly and provide a higher-resolution image for analysis.

Superintendent Radiographer Jean Bonsall said: “The digital image will be produced straight away, which will make things easier for the radiographers, and better for the patient, as they won’t have to wait around. The technology means the radiographer can focus her attention on the patient, rather than the machine.”

The improved imaging will be particularly useful for younger patients, she added, as it will be able to detect smaller anomalies in scans.

The pink van was delivered this week. It will head out on the road next Wednesday, with the first stop in Swadlincote.

Its blue counterpart will be added to the round next month.

Each unit sees around 50 women a day – adding up to 250 women each week. Women aged between 50 and 70 are invited for screening every three years. If there are concerns over the scan results, they are called into the breast unit for further tests.

Women over the age of 70 can still be screened, but they have to request an appointment.

Pictured left to right: Jean Bonsall, Superintendent Radiographer; Dr Mark Bagnall, Consultant Radiologist; Lee Chlechowicz, Clinical Manager for Imaging; and Sue James, Chief Executive for Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Asteral celebrates eighth anniversary with UHL with new consumables management service

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (“UHL”) and Asteral are celebrating the eight anniversary of their Asteral Select partnership with the inclusion of a clinical consumables management service. The 18-year managed service began in 2007, following the success of Asteral’s original MES contract which commenced in 2004. Across three hospital sites Asteral now manages and maintains over 250 diagnostic imaging assets including seven CT scanners and six MR scanners, most of which were replaced with state-of-the-art technology last year (click here for more information).

In addition to the traditional equipment planning and procurement, design, build, installation, and ongoing maintenance Asteral’s Select service at UHL has evolved to include a clinical consumables management service (“CMS”), the provision of non-clinical and technical staff, as well as the provision of integrated IT systems. Following the transfer of on-site consumables staff, Asteral now manages the Cardiology consumables and procedure packs for nine catheter laboratories across UHL and the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre which together perform over 450 procedures per annum.

Asteral is unique in the marketplace due to its proven capability and capacity to deliver a clinical consumables management service including contrast media. Asteral has invested in and secured an MHRA Wholesale Dealer’s Licence for the handling of contrast media, and developed our own CMS IT infrastructure to provide integrated procurement, inventory management and procedure level costings for Cardiology and Interventional Radiology departments. Asteral is one of the largest independent buyers of clinical consumables in the UK, and in addition to savings related to managed service tax efficiencies, we have achieved economies of scale that lead to real procurement savings for our customers. Asteral has a catalogue of 3,000 clinical consumables sourced from 65 suppliers in line with its ethos of vendor-independence.

Through our multi-disciplinary approach to consumables provision, Asteral will deliver efficiencies and cost savings by optimising your stock levels and reducing stock obsolescence, as well as rationalising the supplier base where appropriate whilst maintaining clinical choice.

Jason Long, Business Development Director at Asteral, commented: “Asteral is pleased to celebrate the anniversary of this contract, which demonstrates the longstanding relationships that Asteral forms with its customers. We are really happy that the service continues to be developed to meet changing customer needs and we are delighted to have added clinical consumables management to the overall service.  We are working hard to help UHL achieve the best patient care by providing clinical choice of equipment across our Asteral Select customers and delivering uptimes in excess of 99%.”

For more information on Asteral’s services please call 0118 900 8100

Asteral Select & Whittington’s 10-Year Anniversary

Asteral is pleased to announce that December 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of our long-term partnership with Whittington Health NHS Trust.  Asteral currently manages and maintains 66 Trust assets including 2 CT scanners, 1 MR scanner, 20 x-ray systems, 2 mammography units and 16 ultrasounds.

Over 10 years Asteral has replaced all major items of diagnostic imaging at Whittington Hospital at least once, including the installation of a new Philips Ingenia 1.5T Omega HP MRI Scanner, which weighed six tonnes and required heavy duty lifting and positioning via a third floor window.  The installation came 28 weeks after the Trust’s decision to procure the MRI as a variation to the existing Asteral Select contract, and 14 weeks after planning permission was received.  This demonstrates the flexibility of an Asteral Select contract and shows how Asteral brings together the required expertise and project management skills to deliver complex projects within challenging timeframes.

Adrian Trinidade, MRI Superintendent at The Whittington Hospital, commented “The ability to adapt the service to our individual requirements throughout the length of a long-term contract is a great benefit and extremely reassuring, allowing the Trust to have increased flexibility with its equipment selection and, in turn, offer its patients access to the latest in diagnostic imaging equipment technologies.”

Whittington Health NHS Trust selected Asteral as its partner because of our vendor-independence and flexibility to meet the changing demands of the health economy.  The Asteral Select service integrates seamlessly with the Trust’s existing PFI contract, provides full financing for all equipment, and reduces the Trust’s costs and financial risk.  The Asteral Select contract takes responsibility for the strategic management of medical equipment, allowing the hospital management team to maintain their focus on patient care.

Whittington Health NHS Trust is located in North London and cares for a population of 500,000 with a priority of providing the right care at the right time for patients to ensure the community they serve live healthier lives.

For more information on Asteral’s services please call 0118 900 8100.

5 years of Peterborough City Hospital


Peterborough City Hospital, part of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, celebrated its 5-year anniversary this month, with a fun-filled, family-friendly open day held for the public on Saturday 21st November.  More than 600 people attended the event where staff gave their time for free to showcase each department’s success to members of the public.

The day allowed visitors to enter parts of the hospital which are usually prohibited, giving them a ‘behind the scenes’ look into how different parts of the hospital operate.  A number of activities took place throughout the day, including a giant game of Operation, lessons in taking blood, and children were encouraged to bring their teddies to the teddy bear clinic where they could have them x-rayed by the diagnostic imaging team.  Funded by Asteral, cakes, stickers and booklets were also given out to guests.

Asteral is proud to have sponsored the hospital’s celebrations having worked with the hospital since before it opened in November 2010.  Asteral inputted into the design of all Radiology rooms, and ensured there was a smooth transfer and relocation of assets from Peterborough District Hospital.  Asteral continues to deliver a managed equipment service replacing multiple pieces of diagnostic imaging, radiotherapy and biomed equipment on pre-agreed lifecycles, delivering all planned preventative and reactive maintenance, as well as managing the on-site biomed team – all examples of the flexibility of an Asteral Select contract.

Asteral procures new cone beam CT for Leicester

Asteral has recently procured and installed a new Carestream CS 9300 cone beam CT (CBCT) for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) as a part of its Asteral Select contract.

The new scanner is pictured above with (from left): Lloyd Stewart, Asteral Implementation Manager; Dr Ram Vaidhyanath, Consultant Radiologist; Colin Ross, Superintendent Radiographer; and Tony Hulbert, Carestream Head & Neck Imaging Specialist

The new scanner is capable of performing CT scans of the head and jaw much faster than a regular CT and gives a lower dose of radiation: Asteral can procure a wide range of equipment for its customers to help Trusts to expand their services. This scanner will reduce waiting times for those that require head/jaw scans and means that the larger CT scanners are available for other procedures.

The CBCT will also be made available to community dentists, which means that a new form of income has been created for the Trust.

Please visit the following web page for UHL’s video regarding the new machine:

Asteral celebrates four-year anniversary with Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The fourth anniversary of Asteral’s Select contract with Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was celebrated on 1st September 2014.

The seven-year contract started in 2010, and included the vendor-independent selection, procurement, installation, training and maintenance of two new CT scanners and contrast injectors. Prior to the installation of the new equipment, Asteral managed the de-installation and remarketing of old equipment, user training, as well as the provision of room design services and turnkey works to accommodate the new equipment.

Further to the success of the Select contract, in 2013 Asteral was entrusted with the maintenance of the rest of Kingston’s Radiology portfolio through its innovative Protect service.

Stephen Hodgson, Chief Operating Officer at Asteral, commented: “Asteral is pleased to celebrate the anniversary of this service and is working hard to help the Trust provide the best patient care.”

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust shortlisted for HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards

Asteral are pleased to announce that Seven day imaging for cancer from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has been shortlisted in the Value and Improvement in the use of Diagnostics category for the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards.

This is the first HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards, successor to the HSJ Efficiency Awards, and seeks to recognise and reward outstanding efficiency and improvement.

This nomination is demonstrative of the success of the UHL’s imaging department, which Asteral provides with a managed equipment service. Asteral has procured and installed eleven new CT and MR scanners for UHL since March 2013, giving the Trust, and its patients, access to the latest and most suitable technology. Please click here for more information regarding these installations.

The HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards will be held on 23rd September at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel with NHS and independent sector industry leaders attending.

Andy Jones, Asteral’s Head of Implementation and Technology, commented: “Asteral is delighted to have supported UHL’s Imaging Department and is thrilled that their hard work is being recognised. The new technology means that the Trust and its staff is providing the best patient care and we wish them every success at the awards evening.”