Asteral proud to sponsor UHL Caring at its Best Awards for second year

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust ‘Caring at its Best Awards’ took place on the evening of 7th September 2017 at The Athena, attended by almost 500 staff, volunteers and supporters including Asteral’s Senior Commercial Manager & Associate Director – Managed Services, David Brand and Leicester General Manager, Robert Mason.

The awards recognise and reward Trust staff who are inspirational and committed to colleagues and their patients. The event included awards for: ‘We treat people how we would like to be treated’, ‘We do what we say we are going to do’, ‘We focus on what matters most’ and ‘Caring at its best’ which was a publicly nominated category. The ceremony saw an overall winner selected by their external judges from the finalists of the quarterly heats from throughout the year.

The Acute Stroke Multidisciplinary Team based in Emergency & Specialist Medicine (ESM) at Leicester Royal Infirmary, were selected as winners of ‘We are one team and we are best when we work together’ category, proudly sponsored and presented by Asteral. The stroke team work together with the sole aim of providing high quality stroke specialist care to all stroke patients. They strive to meet national and local targets to give patients the best start in their stroke rehabilitation.

A huge well done to all of the winners.

Leicester’s New Hybrid Theatre and Vascular Move

Leicester’s Hospitals vascular service has successfully completed its integration onto one site with the re-location of some services from the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) to the Glenfield Hospital.  The departmental move is part of a £13.2m major equipment upgrade provided through the Trust’s vendor-independent Asteral Select contract.

The project formed part of a development plan that includes a state-of-the-art hybrid theatre facility that has been purpose built as well as the re-location of a number of items of diagnostic imaging equipment.  The hybrid theatre consists of three ultramodern pieces of equipment provided on a vendor-neutral basis with the support, knowledge and expertise of Asteral’s Implementation and Technology team: a Siemens Axiom Artis Zeego; a GE Healthcare MacLab; and a Medrad Mark 7 Arterion injector.  The new equipment has enhanced the department’s ability to undertake increasingly complex activity, has improved patient pathways and reduced clinical risk.  Ultimately the project has assisted the clinical team provide the most comprehensive integrated vascular, cardiology and cardiac surgery services required to provide the best possible care to patients who are suffering with cardiovascular illnesses.  Asteral provided complete project support for the redesign of the department, from design, through build, to equipment installation.

Vascular disease is a class of diseases of the blood vessels – the arteries and veins of the circulatory system of the body.  It is a subgroup of cardiovascular disease.  Disorders in this vast network of blood vessels can cause a range of health problems which can be severe and often fatal, which is why it is important for the hospitals to have the most advanced technology available.  Asteral’s vendor-independence allowed Leicester’s Hospitals to exploit the mix of different systems available and identify the best fit for its patient needs.

Mark McCarthy, Consultant Vascular Surgeon and Head of Service at the Trust, explains: “This new investment in a hybrid theatre will enhance the care given to patients and will allow treatment of complex cardiovascular disease to be undertaken in a state-of-the-art operating theatre.”

Improving patient experience with these advancements in technology, the new hybrid theatre facility also offers new training opportunities to the staff in the hospital, in particular for the Imaging Team, as this is the first hybrid imaging equipment within Leicester’s Hospitals.

The new angiography suite has been designed to provide a tailor-made environment for the treatment and imaging of vascular patients. The suite, which includes a Mallinckrodt Angiomat Illumena and a Toshiba Infinix, both transferred from LRI, has its own day-case unit which enables the Imaging Team to provide more patient-centred care.  The suite is also located close to the vascular ward which will contribute towards improved collaboration with the Imaging Team.  The Imaging Team have also been working on various projects to improve documentation and patient preparation to in turn improve patient flow.

The new vascular studies unit is based on Level 1 and offers a dedicated patient reception, waiting area and two comfortable and spacious scanning rooms.  A GE Logiq S8 and a GE Logiq E9 were both relocated from LRI.  The units are located adjacent to the vascular ward, angiography suite and MDT room, enabling rapid access for the assessment of vascular in-patients as well as patients admitted to the unit.  Overall, the move will improve work flow and facilitate collaborative working between departments involved in the care of vascular and cardiovascular patients.

Asteral’s Implementation Manager, Lloyd Stewart, commented: “For the re-location, Asteral ensured that the original equipment manufacturers were fully engaged to assist with the design and construction phases.  The re-location was planned to minimise downtime so as not to impact on the interventional service at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and be ready to meet the opening of the new service at the Glenfield Hospital.”

Asteral’s Head of Implementation & Technology, Andy Jones, commented: “The hybrid lab was a first for Asteral and as recognised by all suppliers, these modalities are the most challenging projects to co-ordinate due to the high number of contractors and sub-contractors that need to be involved.  With our support the Trust selected Siemens as the main equipment supplier along with GE for the Haemodynamic monitoring and Bayer/Medrad for the injector.  Asteral’s main implementation task was to ensure all stakeholders had the required input through all phases of design and build while integrating key dates for the equipment delivery, installation and training programmes.  Asteral’s implementation expertise ensured all equipment was installed and commissioned on time with minimal disruption to hospital operations.”

Asteral and UHL celebrate 10 years of managed service contract

On 31st July 2017 University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and Asteral celebrated the tenth anniversary of their vendor-independent managed equipment service – Asteral Select.  The eighteen-year contract started in 2007 and covers over 250 diagnostic imaging systems at UHL’s three hospital sites – Royal Infirmary, Glenfield, and Leicester General – as well as the integrated management of all Interventional Radiology and Cardiology clinical consumables.

Further to the replacement of seven CT and six MR scanners in 2015 Asteral & UHL have continued an active asset replacement programme designed to ensure that patients and staff have access to the latest technology within facilities that optimise patient experience.  Several major milestones have been achieved in the last twelve months.

In November 2016 UHL took delivery of the UK’s first, state-of-the-art MR relocatable unit which improves the patient journey whilst providing flexibility should clinical service demands change in the future.  The unit was constructed at Lamboo Mobile Medical’s factory in the Netherlands and houses a Siemens Healthineers MR scanner which was partly installed in the Netherlands prior to delivery to minimise on-site disruption.

In May 2017 the Trust’s vascular surgery successfully moved location.  The move incorporated the simultaneous refurbishment of a ward at Glenfield to accommodate the vascular surgery patients, the movement of interventional imaging equipment from the Royal Infirmary to Glenfield’s angiography department, and the building and commissioning of a new hybrid theatre facility.  Vascular surgery patients are already realising the benefits of the re-location with all clinical stakeholders within close proximity to each other to collaboratively enhance treatment.

In April 2017 Asteral supported the Trust opening the UK’s first ‘frailty friendly’ Emergency Floor with state-of-the-art embedded imaging including CT and x-ray.  Asteral ensured that the most clinically-appropriate equipment from Philips Healthcare, Samsung Healthcare (distributed by MIS), Toshiba Medical and Bracco UK was selected, installed and commissioned on time within facilities that improve the patient journey whilst speeding up waiting times.

Asteral’s vendor-independent focus on clinical outcomes and patient experience continues in the integrated consumables management service (CMS).  Asteral’s CMS ensures that high-quality clinical consumables and devices are provided to UHL’s Interventional Radiology, Cardiology, and Electrophysiology suites in the right quantities at the right time.  This empowers the clinical teams to deliver compliant, sustainable, and patient-centric services.  The CMS includes full-time on-site stock management staff as well as a complete inventory management system which ensures stock obsolescence is minimised and a reduced on-site stock holding.  As consumables or devices are ordered a synchronous order for replacement stock is automatically generated and the associated cost assigned to the Trust’s patient-level costing system.  Asteral’s CMS actively encourages the Trust to explore latest technologies, new products, and participate in clinical trials.  Innovations include the introduction of leadless pacemakers, new 3D mapping procedures, the first site in Europe to perform robotic ablation, and a screening centre for Boston Scientific Sub-Q implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

Outside of Cardiology and Interventional Radiology, in August 2016 Asteral installed a state-of-the-art ARX UK Vmax robotic pharmacy with a user-friendly touchscreen and barcode system.  The new automated dispensing system ensures instant access to stock levels, space availability and expiring stock information for the most accurate stock management.  The self-cleaning equipment is also quieter and is 50% more space efficient at storing packets, opening up further storage space for the Trust.

David Rolfe, Asteral’s CEO commented: “We are thrilled to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our partnership with UHL – one of the biggest and busiest NHS Trusts in the country.  Leicester has an unequivocal commitment to its patients and are constantly striving to improve the care they receive – looking at the ways they work, encouraging innovation and offering patients access to the latest technologies.  Our vendor-neutral managed service is fully aligned to these objectives and continues to evolve to help the Trust optimise patient outcomes.  My team is immensely proud of its longstanding partnership with UHL and looks forward to continuing to support the Trust through to 2025.”

UHL’s Head of Operations, Matthew Archer added “the flexibility Asteral has shown to accommodate these innovations and improvements at our hospitals has been second to none. The ability to adapt every aspect of the managed equipment service to each of our departmental needs throughout our long-term contract is a huge benefit to us as well as our patients, with newly-refurbished departments and state-of-the-art equipment contributing to both an increase in staff morale and improved patient experience.”

New Seven-Year Asteral Select Contract with Epsom and St Helier University NHS Trust

Asteral is pleased to announce a new Asteral Select partnership with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. The service, which commenced on 1st April 2017, includes a comprehensive asset replacement programme as well as the managed maintenance of 77 clinical imaging systems.

Within the first eighteen months of the new service patients will benefit from the replacement of nineteen mobile and fixed systems, a DR upgrade on two x-ray rooms, as well as the supply of two service efficiency ultrasound units.  This initial investment of £2.25M in new technologies is being co-ordinated by Asteral’s vendor-neutral experts with demonstrations already underway to support each clinical team select the most appropriate equipment for their patients.

In advance of equipment being replaced the service includes the high-quality planned preventative and reactive maintenance of all clinical imaging systems including three CT & MR scanners, a cardiac cath lab, twenty x-ray units and seventeen ultrasounds.  All maintenance activities are being performance-managed by the single point-of-contact Asteral Service Centre which is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday as standard.  Maintenance is being delivered by a flexible combination of original equipment manufacturers and independent service organisations (ISO) including Asteral’s on-site engineering team.

David Rolfe, Asteral’s CEO, explained “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals to ensure they have the latest diagnostic technology for their patients.  The managed equipment service is a flexible and cost effective way for the hospital to invest in high-quality care facilities as part of a sustainable long-term plan.”

Darren Rees, Procurement Project Manager at the Trust, said: “To have our Radiology capital plan agreed for the next seven years is a massive benefit and one which allows our Radiology staff to plan equipment evaluations and installations in advance – a comfortable position for everyone involved.  This agreement alleviates the need for Procurement and Radiology staff to go through the capital bidding process on each piece of equipment; relieves us of the burden of managing the numerous maintenance agreements we had previously; and significantly lowers our risk in terms of equipment failure.”

Head of Radiology Services, Mina Deved, added: “The Radiology managed equipment service will provide valuable support to the Radiology team in managing equipment replacement projects and is a cost-effective solution for equipment maintenance and breakdowns.  In addition, a newly-refurbished Radiology department with state-of-the-art equipment to replace all ageing equipment will offer improved patient experience with access to high-quality imaging and greatly improved staff morale to encourage recruitment and retention of existing staff.”

To hear more about the equipment demonstrations and installations at the Trust, follow Asteral on Twitter @AsteralUK.

Photograph courtesy of Darren Rees.

Asteral proudly sponsors the RAD Magazine Foundation Golf Day 2017

Continuing Asteral’s proud tradition of supporting the RAD Magazine Foundation who are this year raising money for The British Heart Foundation, six members of staff attended this year’s Charity Golf Day which took place at the Cambridge Hallmark Hotel. The event raised over £7,000 for the British Heart Foundation – the biggest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK.

Following registration, Ashley Gander (Sales Operations Manager), Stephen Scott (MES Service Manager), Carla Wood (Clinical Equipment Manager), Paul Lucas (Equipment Library Co-ordinator) and Taz Taylor (MES Service Manager) teed-off in the 18-hole individual stableford competition. The event also catered for non-golfers, where Abbie Thompson (Event and Project Co-ordinator) participated in a golf clinic with the club’s professional and took part in a putting competition with the other non-golfers.

Following the day of golf, participants enjoyed a three-course dinner with a raffle and charity auction also taking place.

Pictured left to right: Stephen Scott; Carla Wood; and Paul Lucas. Photograph courtesy of Ben Hensel – Golf Event Photography.

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.

Another local Asteral Protect contract now live at Hampshire Hospitals

Asteral is pleased to announce the commencement of a new Asteral Protect service with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The managed maintenance contract covers a selection of diagnostic imaging equipment and will use a carefully considered blend of Asteral’s in-house accredited independent service organisations (ISOs) and original equipment manufacturers resources, all managed by Asteral’s dedicated Service Centre, ensuring the Trust’s staff have just one point of contact for all maintenance needs.

The Trust, which has around 5,000 staff, has served a population of around 600,000 people across Hampshire and parts of west Berkshire since it was established in 2012.

Jason Long, Asteral’s Business Development Director, commented “Asteral is really excited about welcoming our second local customer. We look forward to a growing partnership and hope to be able to offer our great services for more of the Trust’s assets as our relationship develops”.

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!

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.