Person in radiology machine - Asteral

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Radiology department offers high quality CT services. Increasing demand meant that its existing suite needed an upgrade to cater for the growing number of referrals.

As is the case with many other Trusts, funding the essential work, managing the project and ensuring service continuity presented a huge challenge: a challenge which Asteral overcame, on time and to budget, with an Asteral Select solution. The Trust benefited from lower whole-life costs than traditional capital purchase or lease options, enabling them to deliver a modern, efficient department with improved patient and staff experience.

Increasing demand for scanning services

Kingston Hospital has a large Radiology department. In a typical day, the department would have seen more than 40 patients for various types of CT scan and levels were set to increase. Over the past decade, national demand for scans has increased by 10% year-on-year.

The previous technology, an 8-slice CT Scanner, provided a good service but the high level of use caused occasional downtime, which led to patient rescheduling. The consistently high volume of patients also meant that many scans were delayed, increasing the pressure on staff to maintain acceptable waiting times.

New approach to procurement

The Radiology team had a compelling business case, but the funds required to upgrade the existing equipment and remodel the building represented a significant investment, which called for a new approach.

Following a detailed evaluation, the Radiology team decided that the Asteral Select would provide the flexibility to build a solution to meet their future needs. In addition, Asteral was proven to offer the lowest whole-life costs of all compliant tenders.

Asteral Select

Asteral’s solution that was closely modelled around the needs of Kingston’s CT team. This spanned financing, project management of the design, build and installation, equipment commissioning and operations – all delivered on time and to budget in just nine months.

Asteral’s vendor-independent status allowed the team to find the best equipment available based on performance, reliability, flexibility and overall value. The two CT scanners selected featured state-of-the-art dose reduction technologies, greatly enhancing the value of the service to existing and potential referrers.

In place of a capital or lease purchase Asteral provided a fully-funded finance arrangement that enabled the Hospital to make monthly payments over the course of the seven-year contract. The monthly payments cover the technology and maintenance, together with the build, project management, training, response desk and other services.

The building work required not only made room for the two new scanners but also facilitate the projected increases in patient flows. Working in phases to allow the department to continue functioning, Asteral oversaw the creation of a new preparation room, patient changing areas and CT scanning rooms, as well as offices, WCs and new plant rooms.

Addition of Asteral Protect

Following the success of Asteral’s Select Service, in 2013 Kingston used the London Procurement Partnership framework to add a 3-year Asteral Protect contract to their existing service. The Protect service provides maintenance for Radiology equipment at mixed cover levels, ranging from PPM-only to fully comprehensive including special parts. The equipment for the Asteral Protect, including 6 ultrasounds and 11 x-rays, is based across two hospital sites.

Industry leading service

The agreement with Asteral means that if there are any issues with the systems a single telephone call leads to swift resolution. As with all Asteral Select contracts, Asteral stipulates that in any given month, an industry-leading level of uptime is maintained.

Jim Weir, Head of Radiology at Kingston Hospital, has been impressed with the service. He said: “From the outset, Asteral’s team has impressed me with their expertise and professionalism. Since both scanners became operational in late January, Asteral has provided detailed monthly reports of the performance and availability of each scanner complete with key performance indicators, something I have never experienced from any other supplier.

“I am really proud of our new department. We provide an excellent quality of care due to new imaging techniques enabled by state-of-the-art technology. We also provide outpatients with a much-improved experience, thanks to a more efficient imaging facility and remodelled patient flows.

The project has increased the capacity of Kingston’s Radiology department by more than 240%, allowing much greater flexibility in patient scheduling. This not only improves service levels to all patients and referrers but also, most importantly, enables the Hospital to increase urgent or in-patient access and supports the planned extension for a ‘walk-in’ direct access service.”