CT and MR installations on track at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

The equipment re-configuration across Asteral’s Select service at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) is underway, with the delivery and installation of seven out of eleven new CT and MR scanners over an eleven month period.

As the UK’s leading vendor-independent provider of managed equipment services, Asteral is providing the Trust with access to the very latest in diagnostic imaging technology under the terms of a longstanding managed equipment service. Asteral completed an evaluation of UHL’s Radiology equipment portfolio to meet the Trust’s increasing clinical needs and is updating the existing suite of CT and MR machines. The largest single installation of CT and MR machines for a single Trust, this work began with the delivery of a Toshiba Aquilion CXL Slice CT scanner in March and has continued over the past seven months with the most recent delivery of a Siemens Definition Flash Dual Source CT in August and a GE Optima MR planned for October.

The four remaining MR and CT scanners from GE and Toshiba will be delivered between now and February 2014 including the Toshiba Aquilion One due for installation at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Upon completion of the project UHL will have acquired a total of six CT and five MR scanners from a range of manufacturers which include Toshiba, GE and Siemens.

The Trust will also take delivery of eleven injectors supplied by Bayer. The whole consignment will include five Medrad® Spectris Solaris® MR injection systems and six Medrad® Stellant® D Dual Syringe CT injection systems with new Certegra® Workstations. This would enable the Trust to gain access to Certegra® CT Contrast Dose Management in the future. This Certegra® informatics platform will support the Radiology departments in driving protocol standardisation and easily accessible audit data.

Andy Jones, General Manager for Implementation & Technology at Asteral said, “We have worked closely with UHL over many months to ensure we best meet their specific clinical requirements for the procurement and installation of new equipment. It’s great to now see the outcome of those plans with the ongoing implementation process. On completion of the project UHL’s renewed and enhanced Radiology department can ensure it continues to deliver optimum levels of patient care.”

Stephen Hodgson, Chief Operating Officer at Asteral, adds, “As part of Asteral’s long-term service with UHL we assess the Trust’s requirements and deliver ongoing access to the latest and most suitable technology. By deploying these new machines we ensure UHL receives improved performance driven by increased equipment utilisation and reliability.”

Judy Gilmore, Radiology Service Manager at UHL, said “Working with Asteral gives us the unique opportunity to choose equipment from a range of different manufacturers meaning we can procure the most appropriate machines for our needs. Asteral’s experience, resources and specialist knowledge ensures we can install innovative scanning technology to meet the ever-expanding service requirements of our Radiology department.”

Asteral procures range of CT and MR scanners for University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

Asteral, the UK’s leading vendor-independent provider of medical equipment solutions to the NHS has just completed a re-configuration of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust’s (UHL) equipment portfolio to meet their increasing clinical needs.

UHL’s current contract has been augmented to add an additional CT scanner to their existing equipment portfolio of six MR and & seven CT scanners.

The acquisition of the new CT and MR machines form part of a larger equipment portfolio reconfiguration project at UHL and will see the total installation of six CT and five MR machines; with four CT machines being awarded to Toshiba, three MR scanners awarded to GE and a further two CT and two MR machines to Siemens. These scanners will be installed between January and October 2013, resulting in the largest single installation of CT & MR in a single NHS Trust to date.

Andy Jones, General Manager Implementation & Technology at Asteral said, “Asteral have worked closely for many months with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to ensure we met their specific requirements for the procurement and installation of these machines. By listening to their specific clinical and financial requirements and procuring a range of cutting edge technology from different suppliers we were able to offer them a bespoke solution ensuring that their equipment estate stays closely aligned to the needs of their patients.”

Stephen Hodgson, Business Development Director at Asteral, adds, “As part of Asteral’s long-term Equipment-as-a-Service solution with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust we deliver on-going access to the latest and most appropriate technology. By deploying these new machines we ensure UHL receive improved performance driven by increased equipment utilisation and reliability.”

Dr Christine Reek, Imaging and Medical Physics Clinical Lead, UHL said “We have worked in close partnership with Asteral to deliver this replacement programme; the choice of equipment from the different manufacturers has ensured we can deliver the services across our three sites.”
Judy Gilmore, Acting Imaging Clinical Business Unit Manager, UHL added “The new and replacement scanners will provide us with CT and MR scanners to deliver innovative scanning techniques including research; as well as meeting the ever expanding service requirements for both planned and non-elective patients”

Asteral’s Service Centre achieves equipment uptimes in excess of 99%

From 1st May 2011 to 30th April 2012, Asteral’s Service Centre continued to outperformed industry standards and ensured all our Select and Protect customers received medical equipment uptimes in excess of 99%.

All of Asteral’s Select and Protect services are underpinned by the Asteral Service Centre, which provides a single point of contact 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, and performance manages the delivery of all planned preventative and reactive maintenance, and handles all service queries. Asteral’s Service Centre provides a high degree of simplification for our NHS customers with one telephone number to access all services allowing clinical staff to focus on delivering patient care, whilst being provided with regular and reliable updates.

Asteral’s Service Centre is responsible for the management and progression of all reactive maintenance and provides Trust staff with up-to-date information on fault rectification. All fault-reporting calls are proactively progressed from receipt until the successful closure of the corresponding corrective maintenance. By effective management of maintenance providers, Asteral increases equipment uptime. Asteral’s Service Centre function employs a bespoke integrated medical equipment management database within which jobs are automatically raised as a new call is received. Operators are specifically trained in medical equipment and provide a knowledgeable interface between the Trust, original equipment manufacturers and third party suppliers.

1st May 2011 to 30th April 2012 Equipment Uptimes

University Hospitals Of Leicester: 99.47%
The Whittington Hospital: 99.44%
Barts Health (Whipps Cross Hospital): 99.94%
Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals: 99.47%
Kingston Hospital: 99.97%
The Hillingdon Hospitals: 99.84% (contract start 1st January 2012)
Hospital Of St John & St Elizabeth: 99.59%
King Edward VII’s Hospital: 99.92%

Asteral delivers new screening room for King Edward VII Hospital

Asteral has successfully implemented a new fluoroscopy system on time and to budget at King Edward VII Hospital in London, a leading London private hospital that also benefits from Asteral’s managed equipment service for its Radiology equipment.

This latest project, replacing a Siemens Siroskop Fluoroscopy system in the imaging screening room with a new Siemens Luminos Excell dRF system, was completed in just eight weeks, from de-commission and removal of the old system to full handover of the new commissioned system to the hospital. The project included the re-design and works required to upgrade the room, providing a refreshed, high quality environment in keeping with the standards and expectations of the King Edward VII Hospital.

Asteral managed the entire project including: full strip out of the existing fixtures and fittings, replacement of floor coverings, new ceilings structure, air conditioning system, sanitary ware, lighting design, doors, furniture, replacement electrical services including MeigAn, and decoration to comply with the latest guidance and recommendations.

Iain Luscombe, Imaging Manager at King Edward VII Hospital said: “Working with Bill Bingham (Asteral) as my point of contact in overseeing the numerous external contractors involved in our digital fluoroscopy room upgrade, I was able to continue my usual job function without resourcing large percentages of my time to project management. The whole process ran very efficiently.”

Stephen Hodgson, Business Development Director at Asteral said: “One of the major considerations was the need to satisfy the infection control protocol of the hospital, with the safety of staff and patients using the room of paramount importance. Our quality inspection centered around these drivers and we are now delivering the new technology with minimum disruption to the hospital, enabling an improved patient service”.

The Hospital also receives Asteral’s managed equipment service as part of a separate three-year contract, with an option to extend to five. This covers all 14 items of Radiology equipment, providing the department with one point of contact for all its maintenance needs.

Asteral obtains wholesale dealer’s licence for the supply of contrast media

Asteral, the leading vendor independent provider of medical equipment services, is now licenced to purchase contrast media associated with imaging equipment, having been awarded a Wholesale Dealer’s Licence (WL35578) from the Medicine Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Contrast media is a regulated and strictly controlled consumable used in diagnostic imaging and the award follows six months of background investigations, planning and external training in Good Distribution Practice by the MHRA. A host of new controlled documents have been implemented across Asteral in line with the existing Quality Management System ISO9000:2008, with new procedures and processes established to ensure the effective monitoring of contrast media from factory to client.

Stephen Hodgson, director at Asteral, said: “We are really pleased to be able to offer contrast media as part of our healthcare service provision. Not only is it further proof that we are a responsible business capable of managing the most complex of consumables, but it also demonstrates our hard work and commitment to meet the needs of healthcare today. This license provides us with yet another vehicle to reduce costs for the NHS and we are looking forward to continuing our work with Trusts to meet both quality and financial targets going forwards”.

Asteral transforms digital mammogram capabilities for UHL

Asteral, the leading managed equipment services (MES) provider to the NHS, was recently awarded a contract by University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust to deliver innovative digital breast screening technology housed in three mobile units. The purpose-built trailers are fitted with Hologic Selenia full-field digital mammography units and complete the digital transformation of the UHL Breast Care Centre.

Asteral has played a major part in transforming facilities at Leicester’s Hospitals. This latest agreement is an extension of an existing MES relationship between Asteral and the UHL Trust, and forms part of wider initiative to meet mandates set out by the Department of Health in the 2008 Cancer Reform Strategy to improve cancer services across the country. With the new digital units, UHL will now provide screening for 120,000 women on a three-year cycle across 13 sites in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland area.

Joan Richards, breast imaging manager at UHL, says: “These mobile units provide patients with greater access to state-of-the-art facilities. The new digital equipment produces sharper, more detailed images instantly rather than waiting for x-ray films to be developed. We can pick up technical faults straight away and repeat the x-ray immediately. Previously patients had to return another day. We can also manipulate the images, which is helpful with dense breast tissue and may mean fewer women require second stage assessment.”

Under the terms of the MES agreement, Asteral was responsible for financing the units and for all work related to building and running them including tendering, procuring, project management and servicing of equipment. This allowed the trust to concentrate solely on the clinical aspects of the upgrade.

“The flexibility of the MES relationship facilitates innovative technology implementation and delivers considerable efficiency, process and financial benefits,” says Robert Mason, acting general manager – Leicester, Asteral. “We are delighted about this extension of the Asteral MES contract with the UHL Trust which has resulted in a fully digital breast screening service across the region. Asteral and UHL staff have worked well together throughout the planning, design and build of the mobile units, ensuring they offer the best possible patient experience and diagnostic capabilities.”

Peterborough awards first ever vendor-independent radiotherapy MES in UK

The UK’s first ever vendor independent radiotherapy Managed Equipment Services (MES) contract has been awarded to Asteral by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The new deal comes at a time when the whole of the NHS is under unprecedented financial pressure to achieve significant efficiency savings to release resources for frontline care. The MES will help to deliver cost-effective new resources for frontline care through radiotherapy equipment chosen on the basis of its clinical suitability rather than ties to individual manufacturers.

The radiotherapy MES at Peterborough supports the creation of a new radiotherapy service at the Trust that will deliver convenient state-of-the-art care closer to patients’ homes.

Steve Tuddenham, Head of Oncology Business Development from Asteral, the medical equipment solutions company that will take charge of financing, procuring, managing and servicing every item of equipment for the new radiotherapy centre outlined the significance of the deal saying “Peterborough set us a demanding target – to guarantee we could provide the most appropriate equipment, keeping it all up to date over a 33 year term, while keeping day-to-day costs to an absolute minimum. The only way we could achieve this was through our unique vendor independent model that gives freedom to choose equipment on the basis of its fit with the Trust’s requirements ensuring clinical needs are met and best value achieved. This model also meant that we could provide all elements of the radiotherapy solution from the linear accelerators to the immobilisation and quality assurance (QA) equipment without compromise.”

Tuddenham notes the significance of the contract saying “it’s no coincidence that Peterborough has contracted with us to create the first vendor independent radiotherapy MES in the UK at the time when the NHS faces an unprecedented financial squeeze. The current economic climate means any NHS organisation looking to develop new services will have to achieve best value which means combining long-term financial stability with the freedom to choose the most appropriate equipment for the job.”

Asteral’s responsibilities will include setting up the entire oncology solution, including two state of the art linear accelerators and a CT scanner supported by an oncology management system, treatment planning software and a separate virtual simulation system. The solution also includes all support devices for immobilisation and QA tools.

A number of items have already been placed on order including two Varian Clinac medical linear accelerators with advanced imaging and IMRT capabilities, a virtual simulation system from Prosoma, a wide bore oncology CT from Toshiba and IT and planning solutions also from Varian Medical Systems. Both QA and immobilisation devices will be selected from a range of suppliers ensuring the Trust can also select the best of breed technologies suitable for their requirements.

Installation of the first of these begins in August this year, in time for the new service to open in April 2011. The MES will last for a 33-year term, ensuring that the Trust can plan to deliver a consistently high-quality service regardless of capital fluctuations from year to year.

Angela Broekhuizen, Associate Director of the project from Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explained that “when we decided to introduce radiotherapy to provide a better and more convenient service to patients, we also wanted to ensure we could deliver the highest quality care in the long-term. The best way to achieve this was through a vendor independent MES that would guarantee equipment capable of providing advanced treatments at the best possible value. We are confident that we will achieve that through our arrangement with Asteral”.

Peterborough hits major milestone

The medical equipment solutions company Asteral has achieved a key milestone working with Peterborough City Hospital as part of its groundbreaking managed equipment services contract at the Trust.

The new £335 million City Hospital is now ramping up to go live in November this year, and Asteral has successfully installed a set of new x-ray machines in its state-of-the-art emergency centre. The equipment includes three Philips BuckyDiagnost ceiling suspensions systems which are the first of many fixed items of equipment that will be installed prior to the opening of the hospital.

In addition to the x-ray machines, Asteral has taken delivery of the first MRI scanner – a GE Signa HDxt 1.5T. Weighing 6 tonnes, it took several hours to be moved into position ahead of a further installation due shortly of an even larger 11.5 tonne 3 tesla GE Signa HDxt 3.0T.

The same Asteral team is also busy installing a range of further Toshiba diagnostic equipment ahead of the City Hospital opening later in the year.

Angela Broekhuizen, Associate Director of Projects, said “We are now just a few months away from welcoming our first patient into our new hospital so every day we are one step closer to making that transition from bricks and mortar to creating a truly wonderful hospital”. Explaining how the equipment can improve patient care, Broekhuizen said “the equipment being installed is going into the resus area in the emergency centre and will provide three separate x-ray machines for on the spot treatment of emergency and trauma cases. This will allow critically injured patients to be x-rayed without moving them from the emergency resus area.”

Asteral has worked on the City Hospital project since 2004 and has already equipped Peterborough’s City Care Centre, run by NHS Peterborough. Asteral is responsible for procuring and maintaining 135 pieces of major clinical equipment – chosen from the full range of manufacturers – as well as the maintenance of several thousand items of smaller medical equipment. The service includes initial staff training, establishing an equipment library and a 24/7 response desk. Also included in Asteral’s responsibilities are the smooth transfer and relocation of many assets from the old hospital into the new buildings.

“It is very rewarding as we start to see all the plans really come to fruition after so much coordination from different teams” says Rob Avery, Peterborough Operations Manager for Asteral. “Right now we are installing equipment from GE, Phillips and Toshiba and we have equipment from other suppliers to come. Asteral can do that because we are the only vendor-independent MES company in the UK, and that allows us to ensure that the equipment chosen meets the needs of the local population. Our top priority now is to ensure that the new hospital will be fully operational from the day it opens.”

Leicester mammography upgrade goes live

The digital transformation of the mammography services at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has taken another leap forward as Asteral installed two key upgrades at Glenfield Hospital.

Asteral has installed two Hologic Selenia FFDM units at Glenfield with the first going live in March and the second in May. These installations complement the two GE units already installed by Asteral and mean that all four rooms at UHL’s Breast Care Centre at Glenfield Hospital are now completely digital.

Darren Woolley, Asteral’s General Manager at Leicester, who oversaw the procurement and installation for Asteral said, “UHL’s decision to upgrade their entire mammography service was accompanied by a clear brief to deliver equipment that would give much improved image quality and deliver a reliable service. Because we are vendor neutral, the Trust was able to choose from a range of manufacturers to get the best solution to fit their requirements so they could concentrate on achieving the highest quality care efficiently and reliably.”

Dr Elizabeth Denton, Clinical Director of Breast Screening said “the new digital equipment will significantly enhance the quality of service we offer, improving diagnostic accuracy through much sharper and more detailed images and possibly allowing us to reduce patients’ exposure to radiation. Asteral’s Managed Equipment Services played a major part in delivering this upgrade which will ensure a better service for patients and bring UHL Breast Imaging into the 21st century.”

The final stage in UHL’s digital transformation will be the provision of three new mobile digital breast screening trailers also equipped with Hologic Selenia FFDM units scheduled for delivery later this autumn. This will take Leicester to the cutting edge of cancer diagnostics consistent with the latest guidance from the DH and Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer Screening to move away from analogue to entirely digital mammography.

Peterborough sets sights on two GE Infinia Gamma Cameras

Two GE Infinia Gamma Cameras, including one equipped with SPECT C/T, have been ordered as part of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Managed Equipment Services partnership with Asteral.

These cameras are the latest in a large procurement programme from a range of manufacturers as Peterborough’s new acute hospital, integrated care centre and mental health unit are built and go live. Asteral procures, maintains, replaces and coordinates training for all of the major diagnostic and theatre equipment as part of the Progress Health partnership. In addition to the cameras, with an MRI from GE, an overhead gantry resuscitation room from Philips, a CT scanner, and digital fluoroscopy rooms from Toshiba, and three injectors from Medrad, Peterborough is fully benefiting from Asteral’s vendor independence ensuring it gets equipment that best fits its clinical needs.

Paul Crockatt, Radiology Projects Informatics Manager at Peterborough, said “the MES with Asteral is bringing a range of equipment from different manufacturers which allows us to optimise clinical need, operational efficiency and ultimately deliver results for patients. These new gamma cameras bring the fastest scan cycle in the industry, a more effective workflow and unparalleled clinical flexibility. All in all, this will help us deliver more accurate diagnoses, improved efficiency and ultimately a better patient experience”.