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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.”

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.

Consumable Management Service

Asteral has the proven capability and capacity to deliver a reliable, efficient, and patient-focussed clinical consumable management service (CMS). Asteral’s CMS which forms part of an outsourced managed service can save NHS Trusts up to 30% on their clinical consumable and device expenditure on a vendor-neutral basis.

Asteral has designed its own CMS IT infrastructure to provide integrated procurement, inventory management and procedure-level costings for Cardiology and Interventional Radiology services. Asteral is one of the largest independent buyers of clinical consumables and devices in the UK and has achieved economies of scale that lead to real procurement savings and cost avoidance for our NHS customers. Asteral has a catalogue of over 3,000 clinical consumables and devices sourced from 65 suppliers in line with its ethos of vendor-independence and clinical choice. Asteral’s CMS dovetails clinical flexibility with operational efficiencies without compromising research and innovation.

“Asteral has made our clinical services more efficient and more sustainable. They have improved the quality of our management data and significantly reduced our costs without compromising on quality or innovation.”
Darren Turner, General Manager, Cardiology – UHL

Asteral Select – CMS Savings (£K)

£1,255K Managed Service & Outsourcing Efficiencies
£254K Cost Avoidance
£898K Procurement Savings & Buying Power

Longstanding Partnership

Responsible for the Glenfield, General and Royal Infirmary hospitals, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) is one of the biggest and busiest NHS Trusts in the country. UHL serves the one million residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland as well as nationally-recognised specialist services including Cardiology and Interventional Radiology.

Asteral’s original contract with UHL was signed in 2003 and was the first vendorindependent managed equipment service (MES) covering the funding, procurement, installation and management of £5M of Radiology and Cardiology equipment. Building upon the savings and efficiencies achieved, the Trust awarded Asteral a second MES in June 2007 for a further £24M of equipment and associated facilities.

University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL)

In 2015, as an integrated part of the longstanding managed service at UHL, Asteral launched its innovative CMS. Asteral now manages all the clinical consumables and devices for nine interventional catheter laboratories across UHL and the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre.

Asteral’s CMS ensures that high-quality clinical consumables and devices are provided to the Trust’s Interventional Radiology, Interventional Cardiology, and Electrophysiology suites in the right quantities at the right time. This enables UHL’s clinical teams to deliver compliant, sustainable, and patientcentric services.
In addition to providing operational efficiencies Asteral’s CMS has reduced UHL’s consumables and devices spend by 29% compared to the previous year – a saving of £2.4M.
Without compromising clinical choice or vendor-led innovation, significant cash savings were achieved through Asteral’s:

  • procurement expertise and buying power,
  • cost avoidance techniques, and
  • managed service and outsourcing efficiencies.

Delivering Efficiencies & Innovations

Asteral’s CMS ensures that clinical consumables and devices are provided in the quantities required for UHL’s high-quality clinical services to be sustained. The CMS includes full-time on-site stock management staff as well as a complete inventory management system which ensures there is zero stock obsolescence and a reduced on-site stock holding. Asteral’s local team is supported by a central procurement and logistics function to further reduce UHL’s overheads. 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 (PLICS) increasing efficiency and eliminating stock obsolescence.

UHL Efficiencies:

  • No stock wastage by managing stock expiry.
  • Real-time device consumption records.
  • Reduced on-site stock and associated storage facilities.
  • Reduced re-implantation rates through device lifetime tracking.

Asteral’s CMS encourages NHS providers to: explore latest technologies, new products, and participate in clinical trials.

UHL Innovations:

  • Procedure-level costings through handheld scanners.
  • Introduction of leadless pacemakers.
  • First in UK & Ireland performing Topera® FIRMap® procedures.
  • One of three UK sites performing novel Acutus Medical AcQMap™
    3D mapping procedures.
  • First site in Europe to perform robotic ablation.
  • Limited release site for Biosense Webster Carto® nMarQ®.
  • Limited release site for Thermocool SmartTouch® SF.
  • Training centre for St Jude Medical EnSite™ Array™.
  • Limited release site for St Jude Medical EnSite™ Precision.
  • All the cardiac interventional labs have access to integrated OCT
    co registration.
  • Screening centre for Boston Scientific Sub-Q implantable
    cardioverter-defibrillators.

UHL Annual Procedure Stats

1,044 Pacemakers
208 Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD)
108 Cardiac resynchronisation therapy pacemakers (CRT-P)
186 Cardiac resynchronisation therapy defibrillators (CRT-D)
130 Transcatheter aortic valve implantations (TAVI) both apical and trans-femoral
3,500+ Percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI)

Asteral delivers the first of three linear accelerators to Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Asteral has delivered the first of three Linear Accelerators to the Royal Derby Hospital. Once complete, Asteral will have replaced three old systems, all with Varian TrueBeam units as well as having completely refurbished the bunkers and control rooms within the 22-month schedule.

The Linear Accelerator replacement started on 18th January; with the first of three old systems being decommissioned. The first TrueBeam has now been delivered with the initial installation complete, ahead of schedule. Secondary commission is now beginning. The aim is for the new Varian system to go live for treatment in August 2016. The decommissioning of the second system will commence in September.

This is the first fixed item delivered to Derby as part of their Asteral Select contract, and it follows on from an extensive design and build programme managed by Asteral’s Implementation Team. Asteral is distinctive in having a dedicated in-house design and implementation team who will work with your estates and clinical departments to plan and project-manage the installation, commissioning and training on all equipment, as well as associated build enabling works.

Kevin Downs, Derby Teaching Hospitals’ Director of Finance and Performance stated: “Following the successful introduction of our Managed Equipment Service by Asteral in April 2015, the Trust has experienced a general improvement in equipment availability and less downtime across the spectrum.

We are now pleased to announce that during the first quarter of 2016 Asteral has, in conjunction with the staff in our Radiotherapy Department, successfully replaced the first of our Linear Accelerator machines with new Varian Radiotherapy machinery to enhance our patient treatment services. This has been accomplished with no disruption to the delivery of the current level of patient services while the programme has been undertaken and now leaves the Trust better placed to deliver improved patient services into the future.”

The new systems will allow the Trust to tailor treatment of cancer patients to a higher degree of accuracy and effectiveness. The Asteral Select contract has benefitted the Trust as it has allowed the Trust’s staff to continue to focus on patient care and to deliver patient treatment with the latest technology available.

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”.

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

Asteral Select & Whittington’s 10-Year Anniversary

Asteral is pleased to announce that December 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of our long-term partnership with Whittington Health NHS Trust.  Asteral currently manages and maintains 66 Trust assets including 2 CT scanners, 1 MR scanner, 20 x-ray systems, 2 mammography units and 16 ultrasounds.

Over 10 years Asteral has replaced all major items of diagnostic imaging at Whittington Hospital at least once, including the installation of a new Philips Ingenia 1.5T Omega HP MRI Scanner, which weighed six tonnes and required heavy duty lifting and positioning via a third floor window.  The installation came 28 weeks after the Trust’s decision to procure the MRI as a variation to the existing Asteral Select contract, and 14 weeks after planning permission was received.  This demonstrates the flexibility of an Asteral Select contract and shows how Asteral brings together the required expertise and project management skills to deliver complex projects within challenging timeframes.

Adrian Trinidade, MRI Superintendent at The Whittington Hospital, commented “The ability to adapt the service to our individual requirements throughout the length of a long-term contract is a great benefit and extremely reassuring, allowing the Trust to have increased flexibility with its equipment selection and, in turn, offer its patients access to the latest in diagnostic imaging equipment technologies.”

Whittington Health NHS Trust selected Asteral as its partner because of our vendor-independence and flexibility to meet the changing demands of the health economy.  The Asteral Select service integrates seamlessly with the Trust’s existing PFI contract, provides full financing for all equipment, and reduces the Trust’s costs and financial risk.  The Asteral Select contract takes responsibility for the strategic management of medical equipment, allowing the hospital management team to maintain their focus on patient care.

Whittington Health NHS Trust is located in North London and cares for a population of 500,000 with a priority of providing the right care at the right time for patients to ensure the community they serve live healthier lives.

For more information on Asteral’s services please call 0118 900 8100.