Asteral completes largest installation of MR and CT equipment in a single NHS Trust

The largest installation of MR and CT scanners for a single NHS Trust was completed by Asteral at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) in March, with the delivery of a GE Optima MR 750w and a Toshiba Aquilion One at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The Trust-wide equipment reconfiguration is being undertaken as part of Asteral’s Select contract. The final deliveries completed the enhancement of the radiology department with a total of eleven new CT and MR scanners from a range of manufacturers.

Andy Jones, General Manager for Implementation and Technology at Asteral, said: “The equipment reconfiguration began with an evaluation of the changing clinical requirements of UHL’s radiology service, to understand how to best update the existing suite of CT and MR scanners. Asteral worked closely with UHL to ensure we met the Trust’s specific clinical requirements and that we were able to procure and install the most suitable equipment from a range of suppliers.”

UHL now has a comprehensive range of scanners from three suppliers including: an Aquilion One and three Aquilion CXL CT scanners from Toshiba; a Definition AS+ CT scanner and Definition Flash CT scanner, along with two Magnetom Aera 1.5T MR scanners from Siemens; and an MR750w GEM 3.0T MR scanner and two MR450w GEM 1.5T MR scanners from GE.

In addition the Trust has taken delivery of eleven injectors, supplied by Bayer, including five Medrad Spectris Solaris MR injection systems and six Medrad Stellant D Dual Syringe CT injection systems with Certegra Workstations. The Trust will gain access to Certegra CT Contrast Dose Management and the integral informatics platform will support the radiology department in driving protocol standardisation and easily accessing audit data.

Asteral, the UK’s leading vendor-independent provider of managed equipment services, combines a unique blend of technical, financial and commercial expertise that offers significant cost savings and performance improvements across every stage of the equipment lifecycle. Asteral’s innovative approach helps trusts make direct savings by converting the lifetime variable costs of managing their critical equipment into efficient and predictable operational costs.

Christopher Langley, Asteral’s Chief Executive, commented: “With vendor neutrality, Asteral is in the unique position to be able to offer access to the latest medical technology and offer the most appropriate equipment to meet a Trust’s clinical and financial needs. We are providing up-to-the-minute diagnostic imaging equipment to UHL under the terms of their long-standing managed equipment service. Asteral’s simple, transparent approach is a highly-effective technique for generating savings and efficiencies within the NHS, and we are delighted to have assisted UHL in ensuring it offers the best possible care to its patients.”

Judy Gilmore, UHL Radiology Service Manager, added: “Asteral’s multiLIFE solution has enabled the Trust to acquire an updated and state-of-the-art range of scanning equipment. This allows us to provide the most advanced cross sectional imaging service to our diverse population. The unique opportunity to choose equipment from a range of manufacturers all under one contract means that we know we are getting the most appropriate suite of equipment for our needs. The process has been challenging as we have delivered the same level of clinical service throughout and we are indebted to the staff and patients for their understanding and flexibility during this time. We are delighted with the installations and know we can continue to offer the best possible patient care from our enhanced radiology departments across the three UHL sites.”

Asteral celebrates anniversary at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

1st June 2014 was the seventh anniversary of Asteral’s Select contract with The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (“UHL”).

The eighteen-year  contract with UHL started in 2007, following Asteral’s original contract with the Trust which began in 2004. Asteral has recently managed a £45m variation to contract – providing the Trust with the flexibility to meet changing clinical and financial needs – the largest variation that Asteral has undertaken since the organisation was established in 2001. Asteral manages 261 assets at the Trust and in the past eighteen months has procured eleven CT and MR scanners. As a result, UHL now has access to the latest technology for their CT and MR needs.

Christopher Langley, Chief Executive Officer at Asteral, commented: “Asteral is pleased to celebrate the anniversary of this contract, which is demonstrative of the longstanding relationships that Asteral forms with its customers. We are working hard to help UHL achieve the best patient care by providing clinical choice of equipment across our Asteral Select scheme and delivering uptimes in excess of 98%.”

New MRI Scanner delivered to the Whittington Health NHS Trust

Asteral is pleased to announce the successful delivery and installation of a Philips Ingenia 1.5T Omega HP MRI Scanner to The Whittington Health NHS Trust on 5th May 2014. This delivery comes 28 weeks after the Trust’s decision to procure another MRI as a variation to the Asteral Select contract, and 14 weeks after planning permission was received. The delivery is demonstrative of the flexibility of Asteral’s contracts 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 Health NHS Trust, commented “The ability to adapt the managed equipment 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. The new scanner will enable us to deliver innovative scanning techniques as well as meet the ever expanding service requirements for both planned and non-elective patients.”

Andy Jones, Asteral’s Head of Implementation and Technology, leads a team that ensures clinical facilities are future-proofed: fit to accommodate changes in equipment manufacturer throughout the contract term with Asteral and beyond. Plans for any new build works are prepared to ensure patient and staff needs and the technical requirements of the equipment are all fully considered in room design.

As the MRI was delivered to the third-floor of the Hospital it was a challenging delivery involving a ten-metre crane to place the four-and-a-half-tonne machine in the prepared room.

Andy commented, “The project involved a challenging third-floor installation in a confined area, but it all went well. The new scanner, which is intended to be in service in June 2014, will double the MR capacity/capabilities of The Whittington Hospital. This will improve the service to the local community and Asteral is pleased to have played a part in this development.”

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.”