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”.

Higèa announces the acquisition of 80% of Biomedicale S.r.l.

Higèa S.p.A., a company controlled by Pantheon Group, leading in the healthcare industry, has finalized the acquisition of the 80% of Biomedicale S.r.l., a company owned by Zephyro S.p.A., an Italian company listed at AIM market of “Borsa Italiana” and operating in the healthcare, energetic and in the facility management industries.

With this important operation, Higèa S.p.A., that counts more than 400 employees, a turnover of approx. 100 Millions of Euro and a portfolio with more than 100 Italian and European health facilities, consolidates its leadership in the healthcare engineering services.

This acquisition has a key role in the development process of Pantheon Group, wich includes, besides Higèa, other companies such as Asteral, Mesa, Ed Sloan & Associates, Sigil, Spintech and MVS, leader in the outsourcing multivendor services.

The Group, founded in August 2014, is at its thirteenth acquisition conducted in several countries, with a focus in European market.

Alessandro Dogliani, President and CEO of Higèa and CEO Group of Pantheon, declares: “an operation in line with the strategies for the growth of Higèa and Pantheon that will allow us to strengthen our biomedical integrated services, and, thanks to our know-how, to develop the management processes, improving the results”.

This operation, performed a few weeks after the acquisition of Iteon Tecnologie S.r.l. biomedical division, was achieved with the support of Ernst & Young, Giliberti Pappalettera e Triscornia and Maisto e Associati.

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.

Pantheon acquires IBSL, a leading provider of clinical engineering services in Italy

Pantheon Healthcare Group announced today the acquisition of Ingegneria Biomedica Santa Lucia S.p.A. (IBSL), a key Italian-based provider of clinical engineering and a large range of biomedical equipment services, from Gruppo Giglio.

Backed by the Permira Funds, the acquisition is part of Pantheon’s continued geographic and modality growth strategy which launched in August 2014 with the acquisition of Asteral Limited and Medical Equipment Solutions and Applications (MESA); two leading independent healthcare service companies operating within the European market.  The combination created Europe’s first integrated multi-vendor healthcare service platform for procuring, commissioning, managing and maintaining biomedical devices and diagnostic imaging equipment within public- and private-sector hospitals and clinics.

IBSL was born in 1997 from the entrepreneurial idea of Sergio and Bruno Giglio’s long customer-centric experience with outsourcing options for heating systems.  Their biomedical business quickly grew to become one of the leading clinical engineering service providers in Italy, providing direct maintenance to biomedical systems within hospitals and clinics across Italy.  In the ensuing years, IBSL integrated further management expertise and technical competences through the acquisition of D&D Med. Com., Ra.se.co, Gidea Alta Tecnologia and Te.Mo.Sa, further strengthening its position in clinical engineering and expanding its reach in the sector of diagnostic imaging equipment and outsourcing services.

Thanks to an outstanding managerial team, led by Alessandro Dogliani, Davide Gagliardi, Antonio Marino, Angelo Deantoni and Enrico Labella, together with about 300 technicians and highly-qualified engineers directly operating within hospitals, IBSL delivers high quality, affordable clinical engineering services, comprehensive solutions for the supply and maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment as well as full-service outsourcing opportunities for Radiology departments, currently serving more than 60 hospitals, research facilities and other clinical providers in Italy.

The acquisition of IBSL strengthens Pantheon’s position as a leading independent pan-European healthcare provider of complete managed solutions for the lifecycle of medical technologies.  With a strong focus on the maintenance, management and sale of equipment for hospitals and diagnostic centres, Pantheon provides central solutions for markets increasingly requiring comprehensive outsourcing provisions and managed services.  The combination of IBSL and Pantheon will extend the service offering of the Group, providing a wider variety of equipment services and products and strengthening Pantheon’s presence in Italy, a key country for its international business development.

Since its inception in August 2014, Pantheon has continued its growth both organically and though the acquisition of three key vendor-independent high technology equipment service providers: MVS in Poland, Spintech in Turkey, and Sigil in France.

Asteral and MESA merger

Asteral is pleased to confirm that it is joining forces with Medical Equipment Solutions and Applications (“MESA”) to create a unified managed equipment and managed maintenance services Group. The merger will ensure providers in the NHS and across Europe will benefit from the Group’s unrivalled asset management and service expertise throughout the product lifecycle of high-end medical systems and other clinical medical devices.

MESA, based in Switzerland and founded in 2009, is the largest independent pan-European provider of diagnostic imaging engineering services and asset management solutions. Working across 12 countries including the UK, Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain, MESA serves more than 600 diagnostic imaging clinics and hospitals, whilst managing over 2,800 medical equipment systems and devices.  With forty years experience maintaining diagnostic imaging equipment, MESA brings the new Group a deep service culture coupled with a multi-vendor service model that complements the vendor-independent service that Asteral provides.

MESA Executive Chairman and founder, said: “We are delighted to announce the combination of MESA and Asteral, which brings together two highly complementary businesses and highly skilled management teams. As a combined group, we will be in an even stronger position to help our customers deliver improved patient care by leveraging our expertise in the way that medical facilities are planned, procured, managed and maintained.”

Christopher Langley, who will take on a new role as Special Advisor to the Board, commented: “I am delighted that Asteral will benefit from this new relationship, which will allow Asteral to go from strength to strength, building on the significant growth of the past 3 years.”

Stephen Hodgson, Asteral’s Chief Operating Officer and founder, said: “The natural synergies that exist between Asteral and MESA will ensure that Asteral continues to deliver cost-effective and high-quality managed equipment and managed maintenance services to healthcare providers in the UK. The new Group will use its market scale and insight to leverage value for money, create new operational efficiencies and drive service innovations as we continue to seek to improve patient care through the effective management of medical equipment.”

Asteral’s solutions can help drive down NHS procurement costs

As a recent report by Ernst and Young shows price variations of as much as 300% across some NHS Trusts, Asteral offers solutions to some of the biggest procurement challenges facing the NHS.

In February 2011 the National Audit Office concluded that better procurement could save the Health Service half a billion pounds a year and a recent study by Ernst and Young highlighted that approximately £500 million a year is being lost due to poor procurement processes and decisions. Ernst and Young spokesman, Joe Stringer, commented that the findings raised ‘…concerns about price variation and spending in the procurement of NHS suppliers.’ The report further highlighted that prices paid for basic hospital supplies and services varied by as much as 300% depending on the Trust.

The National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee have both similarly criticised that ‘opportunities for efficiencies’ were being missed due to the new Foundation Trust status meaning hospitals procure their supplies more independently. The danger of this comes where a Trust has paid a higher price for the same equipment and will then continue to be charged higher prices instead of a fair price being tailored to the Trust’s requirements.

Jason Long, Asteral’s Business Development Director, understands these concerns and comments; “Price variation throughout the NHS is an issue which is having a profound effect on what are strained and dwindling budgets. In order to make significant savings Trusts need to evaluate procurement processes and consider other more cost-effective options. Asteral understands the challenges that Trusts are facing in the new NHS economy which is why we created a portfolio of highly-focused solutions that aim to address the current clinical and financial challenges. These solutions deliver significant cost savings and improve equipment performance & lifecycle management leaving staff free to focus on patient care and treatment.”

Asteral’s Chief Executive, Christopher Langley comments further; “As one of the UK’s leading independent buyers and providers of medical equipment, consumables and maintenance services, Asteral leverages significant buying power helping us achieve lowest possible prices from all manufacturers and pass these cost savings onto our customers. Asteral’s simple, transparent managed service approach is a viable and highly effective technique for generating savings and efficiencies within the NHS.”

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%

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.”

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

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.”