The UK’s first ever vendor independent radiotherapy Managed Equipment Services (MES) contract has been awarded to Asteral by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The new deal comes at a time when the whole of the NHS is under unprecedented financial pressure to achieve significant efficiency savings to release resources for frontline care. The MES will help to deliver cost-effective new resources for frontline care through radiotherapy equipment chosen on the basis of its clinical suitability rather than ties to individual manufacturers.
The radiotherapy MES at Peterborough supports the creation of a new radiotherapy service at the Trust that will deliver convenient state-of-the-art care closer to patients’ homes.
Steve Tuddenham, Head of Oncology Business Development from Asteral, the medical equipment solutions company that will take charge of financing, procuring, managing and servicing every item of equipment for the new radiotherapy centre outlined the significance of the deal saying “Peterborough set us a demanding target – to guarantee we could provide the most appropriate equipment, keeping it all up to date over a 33 year term, while keeping day-to-day costs to an absolute minimum. The only way we could achieve this was through our unique vendor independent model that gives freedom to choose equipment on the basis of its fit with the Trust’s requirements ensuring clinical needs are met and best value achieved. This model also meant that we could provide all elements of the radiotherapy solution from the linear accelerators to the immobilisation and quality assurance (QA) equipment without compromise.”
Tuddenham notes the significance of the contract saying “it’s no coincidence that Peterborough has contracted with us to create the first vendor independent radiotherapy MES in the UK at the time when the NHS faces an unprecedented financial squeeze. The current economic climate means any NHS organisation looking to develop new services will have to achieve best value which means combining long-term financial stability with the freedom to choose the most appropriate equipment for the job.”
Asteral’s responsibilities will include setting up the entire oncology solution, including two state of the art linear accelerators and a CT scanner supported by an oncology management system, treatment planning software and a separate virtual simulation system. The solution also includes all support devices for immobilisation and QA tools.
A number of items have already been placed on order including two Varian Clinac medical linear accelerators with advanced imaging and IMRT capabilities, a virtual simulation system from Prosoma, a wide bore oncology CT from Toshiba and IT and planning solutions also from Varian Medical Systems. Both QA and immobilisation devices will be selected from a range of suppliers ensuring the Trust can also select the best of breed technologies suitable for their requirements.
Installation of the first of these begins in August this year, in time for the new service to open in April 2011. The MES will last for a 33-year term, ensuring that the Trust can plan to deliver a consistently high-quality service regardless of capital fluctuations from year to year.
Angela Broekhuizen, Associate Director of the project from Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explained that “when we decided to introduce radiotherapy to provide a better and more convenient service to patients, we also wanted to ensure we could deliver the highest quality care in the long-term. The best way to achieve this was through a vendor independent MES that would guarantee equipment capable of providing advanced treatments at the best possible value. We are confident that we will achieve that through our arrangement with Asteral”.