Asteral Select delivers UK-first for UHL’s Imaging Department

On Saturday 5th November, University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) in partnership with Asteral, took delivery of a brand new, state-of-the-art MRI relocatable unit, a UK-first delivery for the Imaging Department at UHL as well as a first in the history of Asteral. This relocatable unit replaces the Trust’s old trailer via their 18 year Asteral Select contract, which has already seen a wave of replacements take place at UHL this year.

On Friday 10th February the unit was officially opened at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) by one of the Trust’s patients Luke Swain. Luke has been a patient of UHL’s since the age of nine when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Now twenty-two he has had regular MRI scans and has got to know the department and staff very well over the years. The opening ceremony saw the cutting of the ribbon, followed by a food and drinks reception attended by key members of staff from the hospital as well as some of Luke’s family. Asteral also gifted the Trust with a cake to celebrate the event.

The unit was constructed at Lamboo Mobile Medical’s factory in the Netherlands for five months and houses a Siemens MRI scanner which was delivered and partly installed in preparation of delivery. The 1.5T MAGNETOM Aera offers a more comfortable experience as well as many technological advances. The detailed images it provides can enhance diagnostic confidence – giving you one of the highest quality MRI exams available today.

The delivery to the LRI was a complicated process, managed by Lamboo Mobile Medical, a global company specialising in the engineering and manufacturing of Mobile and Modular healthcare solutions and logistics company, Westdijk Transport. The transportation of the extra-large load, which involved a ferry trip from Holland to the UK, was four metres wide and twenty metres long, but successfully made it to the outside of the Physiotherapy department at the LRI where it has taken permanent residence.

Historically, MRI system replacements can cause months of disruption to hospitals and their patient waiting lists, however, by purchasing a relocatable unit, the LRI were able to continue a normal, undisrupted service to their patients. Without onsite disruption, Lamboo worked with Asteral, Siemens Healthineers and the Trust’s Estates department to allow 90% of the installation to take place at Lamboo’s factory in the Netherlands.

The Estates team at the Trust were heavily involved with the installation process, ensuring the slab that the relocatable unit would rest on was able to support the unit. Special concrete flooring also had to be laid to ensure the unit was safe and level for scanning and could integrate with the hospital’s infrastructure.

Francesca Evans from Asteral’s Implementation team commented, “Asteral are really excited about this relocatable unit, the first on our portfolio. The collaborative working by all teams; Asteral, Lamboo, Westdijk, Siemens Healthineers and UHL has worked really well and it’s great to see all our hard work paid off now that the Trust are scanning patients.”

Rajinder Sandhu, UHL’s MRI Superintendent Radiographer commented: “This project is a culmination of months of hard work by a team of experts collaborating from across different parts of Europe. It’s a very innovative approach to increase our capacity and many other trusts are looking at using as a model going forward.”

Matthew Archer, Head of Operations for Clinical Support and Imaging at Leicester’s Hospitals, adds: “Historically, this kind of project would have caused months of disruption to our Imaging department so we are all delighted it was up and running within weeks.”

HFMA Annual Conference 2016

Asteral enjoyed yet another successful exhibition at HFMA’s Annual Conference, which took place between Wednesday 7th and Friday 9th December 2016 at the Hilton London Metropole, where more than 600 delegates attended.

The three-day event was opened by motivational success speaker – Joy Marsden, and was this year themed ‘Step Up’. Delegates attended workshops and seminars focused on how the NHS could step up to 2020 and beyond. The Asteral team used the opportunity to promote primarily Asteral Select services, a vendor-independent managed service that reduces costs to Trusts by at least 15% per year less than self-providing the same services. It was also a great opportunity to spread brand awareness to people visiting the stand wanting to learn more about Asteral. The majority of these visitors being those who work in Finance departments in the NHS, working with restricted budgets and therefore exploring innovative ways to save money.

The conference concluded on the Friday afternoon, with the exhibition prize draw which took place on Asteral’s stand with the lucky winners receiving prizes from holiday vouchers to champagne hampers.

Asteral nominates Stockport for The Excellence in Supply Awards 2016

Asteral manages 39 items of diagnostic imaging equipment at Stepping Hill Hospital. Over the equipment’s lifetime, the cost of the original equipment manufacturer’s support can be more than the original purchase price. Asteral therefore worked with the imaging department heads within the Trust’s Radiology division to agree on the purchase of a Protect service contract. This bold commitment by Stockport into a multi-year contract with Asteral as a single managed service provider has saved the Trust in excess of £140K since 2012.

More recently, Stockport’s team has collaborated with Asteral to develop a payment mechanism that provides the Trust with additional cost savings whilst continuing to deliver high-quality services. The Trust will benefit from £70K worth of savings in the first year of the new contract with the potential for a similar level of recurrent savings to be made in each year of the contract moving forwards.

Asteral is pleased to announce that following its nomination, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust was shortlisted for the ‘NHS in the North West’s Excellence in Supply Awards 2016’ in the NHS Supplier Engagement category. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 20th October at the Village Hotel, Blackpool. The annual event provides a unique opportunity to gain national recognition and celebrates private sector organisations working with the NHS for the delivery of high-quality, effective and efficient patient care.

Well done to everyone nominated in each category and congratulations to all of the winners!

New Asteral Protect contract at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Asteral is pleased to announce the start of a new Asteral Protect contract with Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust! The new partnership will see the Trust benefit from industry leading equipment uptime to allow for optimised patient outcomes.

The Trust, which opened its doors in 1862, offers care to 90,000 children and young people from across the country each year. The award-winning, world-renowned hospital has over 3,500 members of staff with a reputation for excellence in many life-changing specialist services. The hospital is also home to Europe’s largest single site paediatric intensive care unit, a 24-hour accident and emergency service, regional major trauma centre and revolutionary new mental health service for 0-25 year olds.

Jean Cahalane, Radiology Professional Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, commented “Asteral’s competitive pricing structure and different cover levels allowed us to choose the correct level of maintenance for our equipment. We are looking forward to working with Asteral in this new partnership.”

Asteral Installs First of Four New DR Rooms in Leicester

Asteral, in partnership with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) has installed the first of four new digital x-ray rooms at Glenfield Hospital’s Radiology department. The Samsung-manufactured GC85, distributed by MIS, is one of four rooms that will be installed at the hospital in the next year as part of their Asteral Select contract.

The state-of-the-art Samsung GC85 room features two wireless DR detectors which lead their class with a DQE of around 80%. The room comes with fully automated movement as standard in all of its key elements including tube, table and erect bucky. With anatomical programming the system offers virtually ’hands off‘ Radiography capable of almost 1,000 different protocols.

Nick Clark, Radiology Site Manager of the Glenfield hospital commented; “With its innovative automation aimed at reducing RSI, its ease of use and novel features like S-Align and S-Share allows Samsung to be at the forefront of ground breaking technology. These features along with others show a real advance in plain film room technology.”

Francesca Evans, Asteral’s Chief Technologist commented; “This is an exhilarating time to be installing new pioneering digital x-ray equipment. Any new advances in technology that can help with RSI and improve diagnostic quality to provide the best for our patients is a must! We are looking forward to working with MIS over the next year to install more of this excellent product to the Glenfield team.”

Pictured are: Tony Rogers, MIS Account Manager – Midlands; Nick Clarke, Superintendent – Glenfield; Amanda Douglas, Senior Radiographer; Lucy Lewis, Deputy Superintendent Radiographer; Phil Jones, MIS Account Manager – North; Francesca Evans, Asteral – Chief Technologist.

Royal Berkshire Signs 5-Year Asteral Protect Contract

Asteral is pleased to announce the expansion of its managed maintenance portfolio with a new Asteral Protect service with The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.  The five-year contract went live in March and has an optional one-plus-one year extension.  The contract covers the high-quality maintenance of diagnostic imaging equipment across the Royal Berkshire Hospital and some of its satellite sites including, but not limited to: three MR scanners, four CT scanners, sixty five ultrasounds and two gamma cameras.

Although the Protect contract commenced in March, Asteral has delivered an interim service since the beginning of January to assist the Trust as they transitioned from their previous multi-vendor provider.

Procured through a rigorous competitive procurement, Asteral provides the Trust with the most economically advantageous service – providing equipment uptimes in excess of 99% as well as a single point-of-contact Service Centre which allows Trust staff to maintain their focus on patient care and optimising patient outcomes.  The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is a large general hospital serving a core population of 500,000 and a wider population of one million for specialist and hyper acute services. The Trust has a vision to provide sustainable, high-quality care for the local community; a vision which Asteral is proud to support from its new headquarters and Centre Of Excellence in Theale, Berkshire.

Asteral’s Business Development Director, Jason Long, commented: “It’s great to have a partnership with our local NHS Trust who deliver healthcare to the majority of our own employees and families.  We are building a strong relationship in order to support both the Trust’s vision and their diagnostic imaging strategies over the next five to seven years”.

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