Leicester exceeds 99% uptime with Asteral

170 items of major medical equipment managed by Asteral under their partnership with University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust (UHL) have performed at over 99% uptime during the last 12 months.

In addition to the large volume of imaging and diagnostic equipment covering all the major modalities, Asteral manages robotic pharmacies as well as mobile trailers that assist UHL deliver care in the community. Asteral also procures new equipment, provides on-site maintenance and training.

Working across all three of the Trust’s hospitals, Asteral runs two Managed Equipment Services (MES) for the Trust. The first MES, which has run since May 2004, delivered an average equipment uptime of 99.77% across 62 items of equipment over the past 12 months. The second MES which includes older and more complex equipment has been operational since August 2007 and achieved an average uptime of 99.52%.

Ernie Thompson, Equipment and Contracts Manager at the Trust, explained that “scheduling procedures becomes far easier because we know we can rely on our equipment. In turn, delivering care becomes far more efficient across the Trust.”

Talking about the challenging operating environment facing the whole of the NHS over the next few years, Ernie Thompson added: “the MES arrangements are already helping us plan for the future because regardless of changes to capital budgets, we will be able to stick to our plans to install new state-of-the-art equipment while being flexible enough to meet the changes and demands of the financial climate. So the benefits go beyond operational efficiencies because we know we will continue to improve the quality of patient care we deliver year on year. We look to be more innovative in our joint approach to the equipment agenda to account for strategic changes and working with the wider healthcare community.”


Asteral installs latest prone table at the Whittington

Asteral, the medical equipment solutions company, has installed a MultiCareTM Platinum prone breast biopsy table at the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

The prone table, which is designed to maximise patient comfort while bringing the latest advances in stereotactic technology, was chosen by Trust staff with Asteral as part of its Managed Equipment Services arrangement. Its intuitive design and diagnostic capabilities make it the ideal system for characterization of calcifications, masses and architectural distortion.

Commenting on the installation Consultant Radiologist, Dr Ros Crooks, said “Because Asteral are vendor independent, we were able to work closely with them to select the table from a choice of providers and are delighted with the results.”

Accompanying photo showing from left to right:

  • Recep Suleyman – Radiology General Manager
  • Dr Ros Crooks – Consultant Radiologist
  • Dr Francesca Peters – Consultant Radiologist
  • Don Kalumpanun – Asst PACS Manager
  • Dr Ranjana Chaudhuri – Consultant Radiologist
  • Natasha Suvarna – Radiographer
  • Olufunke Idowu – Radiographer

Asteral celebrates its first anniversary at Peterborough

Asteral, the medical equipment solutions company, has completed its first year of operations at Peterborough, as part of its MES covering three new buildings for health services in the city. Asteral now services two of these completed buildings and assists in the design solution for the new PFI Peterborough City Hospital, which is currently under construction.

Its first year has seen the successful opening of The Cavell Center, a new mental health unit and the City Care Centre as well as the successful management of over 480 items of medical equipment. This includes the specification, procurement and installation of two fully equipped x-ray rooms each featuring a GE Definium 6000 and the installation of two GE Voluson 730 Expert ultrasounds.

Apart from one response desk phone call, which took more than 15 seconds to be answered, every one of Asteral’s extremely tight KPIs has been met and surpassed.

Operations Manager, Robert Avery, said that “we’ve been particularly pleased with the Trust’s reaction to achievements such as an average 99.99% uptime for the equipment we have installed so far.” But Avery explains that for Asteral, there is no time to pause, “next year will see the opening of Peterborough City Hospital, for which we will procure and install 130 major items of the building’s new equipment from many different manufacturers as well as managing around 8000 items of transferring medical equipment.”

Photo attached showing from left to right:

  • Julie Cook – Senior Radiographer and Clinical Lecturer
  • Rachael Boakes – Radiographer
  • Cheryl Finch – Radiology Care Assistant
  • Emma Wythe – Student Radiographer

Asteral delivers 99.55% uptime at Whittington

Latest figures from Asteral, the medical equipment solutions provider, show equipment provided to the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust had an average uptime of 99.55% during the last year.

Asteral’s Business development director, Sean Williams, explained that “the latest equipment uptime results at Whittington – 99.55% across all the equipment we manage at the hospital – proves our clients can rely on us to deliver extremely reliable, top quality, equipment at a low cost.”

Recep Suleyman, Imaging Services Manager at the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, where uptime averaged 99.55% across 50 pieces of equipment, said “we were delighted to achieve these results. Because we can rely on the equipment to work well, we can complete all our scheduled work with fewer interruptions, treat patients quickly, and make best use of our clinicians’ time.”

Accompanying photo showing from left to right:

  • Mike Smith – Radiographer
  • Hugo Peebles – Radiographer
  • Julian Davidson – Radiographer
  • Sanjay Devji – Radiographer
  • Recep Suleyman – Imaging General manager

Leicester bites off another digital transformation

Asteral has completed another major installation at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust by installing a range of digital dental x-ray equipment as part of their Managed Equipment Services contract.

The latest round of equipment – a Kodak K8000C OPG/Ceph dental x-ray system and a Kodak K2200 Intra-Oral dental x-ray with CR7400 – has been installed at the Glenfield Hospital and completes the move to a totally digital solution across Leicester’s hospitals with other installations of Kodak equipment at the Leicester Royal Infirmary dating back to December 2007.

Nick Clark, Superintendent Radiographer at the Glenfield Hospital said “we worked closely with Asteral to identify the best equipment for our clinical requirements and we are delighted with the results. Having standardised equipment across our hospitals will improve safety and efficiency as clinicians who work across different sites will find the same state-of-the-art digital equipment wherever they go.”

Accompanying photo showing from left to right:

  • Safiyyah Sabat – Radiographer
  • Gill Hancock – Senior 1 Radiographer
  • Darren Woolley – Asteral General Manager
  • Lucy Lewis – Acting Superintendant Radiographer

Leicester upgrades Asteral’s MES

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has announced a major equipment upgrade as part of their Managed Equipment Services (MES) partnership with Asteral.

This upgrade will transform Leicester’s mammography services to state-of-the art digital imaging technology. Four mammography suites located in the Trust’s hospitals will be upgraded as well as three mobile scanners and their trailers allowing UHL to reach out into the community.

The move comes just over two years after the scheme went live. The contract is the largest stand alone MES contract in Europe, and the latest development adds over £700,000 of additional equipment value to the scheme. Asteral, which manages 176 assets on behalf of UHL has replaced 81 of them since going live.

Director of Strategy for the Trust, Abigail Tierney, said “the MES has already shown that a more efficient way of working really does improve patient care. Average equipment uptime in the last financial year was an exceptional 99.37% and that has helped make it possible for us to achieve dramatic reductions in waiting times. We have included the digital mammography suites in the scope of the project because we wanted to see those results reach across more of our services.”

Managing Director, David Rolfe explained “the objective of the upgrade is to ensure that all the mammography services at the Trust will use the latest digital technology. Because we are vendor-independent, we will now work closely with the Trust to identify which manufacturer’s equipment will best fit their requirements. We’ve already upgraded two suites at the Glenfield Hospital and we will now deliver a similar level of service in the other suites in the Trust. UHL is serious about taking care closer to patients’ homes, so we will also be replacing their mobile breast screening facilities with the latest digital technology.”

Accompanying photo showing from left to right:

  • Gill Gibbard – Senior Radiographer, UHL Staff
  • Heraklis Skannavis – Asteral Engineer
  • Marianne Phillips – Asteral Leicester Office Manager
  • Denise Benn – Senior Radiographer

Peterborough City Care Centre goes live

Peterborough’s pioneering new City Care Centre went live on May 18 bringing a range of new services to local patients.

Expectations are high because Asteral’s Managed Equipment Service has already won a prestigious industry award. The service will supply some of, and maintain all of the centre’s medical and diagnostic equipment.

The City Care Centre, part of the Greater Peterborough Health Investment Plan, is run by NHS Peterborough and includes a minor illness and injury unit (incorporating the walk-in centre and GP out of hours), 34 specialist rehabilitation beds, a pharmacy, outpatient diagnostic and treatment centre, general rehabilitation services and a children’s care centre.

Asteral has also supplied and managed the installation of 2 X-Ray rooms and 2 Ultrasound scanners as well as the movement and re-installation of a bone densitometer.

NHS Peterborough City Care Centre project manager Ele Milne said ” It’s been truly exciting to see the new services come together on time and on budget. Asteral’s vendor-independent MES means we were able to choose the most appropriate equipment regardless of manufacturer. This ensures patients receive the best possible service.”

500% growth for Asteral’s Peterborough team

Asteral’s Peterborough-based team has grown fivefold so far this year as the installation of equipment across Peterborough’s new acute hospital, integrated care centre and mental health unit ramps up and more services go live.

They join Operations Manager, Robert Avery, who has been with Asteral for 3½ years. Robert has led Peterborough through the medical equipment selection process for the City Care Centre and set up procedures for Asteral’s 32-year Managed Equipment Service partnership for Peterborough’s new build “super-hospital”.

The team brings a diverse range of skills and expertise. General Manager, Louise Sullivan has extensive senior NHS and private sector management experience and is a trained diagnostic radiographer. Project Manager, Naresh Maharaj has managed various projects in the UK private healthcare sector following a stint at the South African Department of Health.

Team administrator, Donna Wilson, has 12 years experience as a legal secretary before moving to the Environment Agency. Medical Engineer, Brian Long brings experience working at Smiths Medical where he led work with the Home Office, NHS and emergency services on national defence in the wake of 9/11. More recently he has held posts in Canada and as a Specialist Engineer at Watford General Hospital.

General Manager, Louise Sullivan said “we have a huge amount to achieve with responsibilities to procure, maintain, replace and coordinate training for all of the major diagnostic and theatre equipment for the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trusts. Since taking up our posts, we have all been encouraged by the enthusiasm of the staff at Peterborough as they recognise the value of the services Asteral delivers”.


Digital Transformation of Leicester and Rutland’s breast screening service marks Asteral’s two year anniversary

As Asteral’s managed equipment service at University hospitals Leicester reaches its second anniversary, the scale and flexibility of the project is becoming clear with 31 variation requests accepted within contract last year.

These variations include the complete refurbishment of Leicester and Rutland breast screening services, going completely digital by 2010. With four digital screening rooms and three digital screening trailers, the quality of patient care will be transformed as the local NHS moves away from film and chemical processing. Two of the rooms have already been installed and the rest go live over the course of the next 18 months. All of the facilities have been furnished with equipment chosen from the full range of manufacturers to respond to clinicians’ priorities.

Dr Hilary Daintith, Clinical Director of Breast Screening, said “the flexibility Asteral has shown to incorporate this transformation which was outside the scope of our original contract is amazing. As well as the certainty of long-term planning through the MES we also get to change our priorities as clinical requirements develop. Over 1,500 women every week will benefit through improved image quality, better diagnosis and a reduction in it examinations. In addition, the digital transformation will save us £150,000 on film every year.”

Accompanying photo:

  • Glynis North (left), a UHL patient who has been encouraging women to have regular check ups with Superintendent Radiographer Julie Smith (right). Photo Courtesy Leicester Mercury

Leicester’s gamma camera upgrade delivers results

Latest results show that University Hospitals Leicester’s high expectations when Asteral upgraded their gamma camera last year have been exceeded.

The performance metrics collected by Asteral as part of its Managed Equipment Services contract with Leicester reveal that the new gamma camera has increased throughput and delivered high staff satisfaction.

Claire Greaves, UHL’s Head of Nuclear Medicine, explained that “because the camera is so versatile, scheduling has become much easier and this has helped us meet our two week waiting times across all of our hospital sites. The camera brings invaluable new functionality allowing us to link NM and CT images while both NM staff and radiologists can view results remotely.”

In addition to the new equipment, UHL is also benefiting from more stable planning and support “The knowledge that the cameras will be replaced every 10 years without having to bid for capital equipment money is great. And in the more immediate term, the speed of response that comes from having on-site first-line engineers from Asteral dramatically increases equipment uptime and reliability.”