Celebrating women in engineering

In honour of International Women’s Day, which took place on Sunday 8th March, we want to take the time to celebrate the contributions that women in engineering make at Althea – and highlight why it’s still important to promote engineering as a career path for all.

The number of women in engineering roles has nearly doubled in the last decade – from just over 25,000 to just over 50,000. New government data shows that there are now one million women in STEM roles in the UK – an increase of over 350,000 in the last ten years. While this is great, there is still more to be done, as overall the proportion of women in tech roles remains at 16%, the same figure it has sat at for the last ten years. The UK still lags far behind the rest of Europe in its efforts to employ female engineers.

Just over 10%

Women now account for just over 10% of engineering professionals in the UK. It’s been great to see how this figure has progressed over the years. But Britain still has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe – Latvia, Bulgaria and Cyprus lead with nearly 30%. For a country that prides itself on its diversity – and opportunity – this number is still shockingly low.

The benefits of a diverse workforce cannot be underestimated. Not only does it create a richer pool of talent, but it also allows companies to be more productive. Research shows that companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse. It’s easy to grasp at statistics, but the inherent value of diversity is self-evident in its contributions to creativity and innovative thinking, and its relations to progress. Simply put, engineering is dedicated to real-word problem solving – rooted in imaginative, forward-thinking concepts, simple or complex; the exchange of experience and ideas, and how this can be applied to enhance the world around us. How can this be achieved without inclusion and diversity of thought? Different people bring different ideas, but diversity – in whatever form – enriches its capabilities.

Inspiring people from a younger age

As a STEM ambassador, I often go into schools, colleges and other similar locations to help with school projects or provide advice on career days. One thing I have seen is that junior school children don’t have misconceptions regarding science and engineering. As children progress to high school age, they begin to formulate an image of the engineering profession from the outside world – from what they see on TV, in the media, from parents – which almost always ends up solidifying their perception of engineering as something that is ‘not for girls’.

It’s important to challenge stereotypes so that the window of opportunity remains open to everyone, regardless of their gender or age. To break down this image, it is important that they have access to positive role models and see more of women in engineering at work.

What are we doing at Althea?

Althea prides itself on breaking down technological barriers, and enhancing patient care, meaning we rely on a large, dynamic pool of talent. This includes the expertise and collaborative efforts of over 3,000 engineers, technicians, administrators, apprentices, and customer service specialists, all across the globe. We like to support our staff in their professional development, and alongside great training opportunities we also offer a great apprenticeship programme to help young people fire up their career – and explore those they may not have been familiar with before.

Here at Althea we want to shed light on our own amazing women in engineering. First stop is Carla Wood.

Before joining Althea, Carla served 15 years in the NHS starting at The Kent and Canterbury Hospital on placement where she studied her BEng in Electronics with Medical Electronics. She has had many roles within the NHS throughout the East of England including Medical Technical Officer, Senior Medical Electronics Engineer, Medical Devices Manager/Medical Devices Safety Lead alongside completing her MSc in Clinical Engineering. Carla joined Althea in 2014 as Clinical Equipment Manager before becoming MES Operations Manager in Peterborough. She is currently in phase one of submitting her CEng and hopefully will be the first Althea UK woman with CEng after her name!

Mehrnoosh Atashbiz completed work experience in 1998 whilst studying BSc in Biomedical Engineering back in Iran. She worked in Medical Equipment R&D Establishment as a Design Engineer before starting her career in the UK in 2004. Mehrnoosh worked as a Biomedical Engineer until 2006 when she was promoted to an EBME Workshop Supervisor. She studied MSc in Medical Electronics and Physics whilst working full time and completed the course in 2009. She is now a Service Manager for Althea.

Louise Spridgeon has completed two introductory level courses with us and is a mature student currently attending Peterborough College doing her Level Three Electronic and Electrical Engineering BTEC, whilst her son is now also attending college! Louise is enjoying working through the Althea training programme which I have developed for her.

Parisa and Samira Esfahani – Parisa is one of our amazing Power Systems Engineers while Samira joins us as one of our talented Biomedical Engineers (they’re sisters). Both have both completed several training courses, including more recently An Introduction to Anaesthesia and Ventilation.

Pegah Monem originally started at Althea as a Junior Biomedical Engineer from TBS, before being promoted to Senior Biomedical Engineer and has just been promoted to Lead Engineer at RNOH Stanmore. Well done Pegah!

Finally, Sue Simpson has a BEng (Hons) Electronic and Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Medical Physics and is a Registered Clinical Scientist. Sue started her career in the NHS in Radiotherapy Physics, moved to Clinical Engineering Management with a team of 20+ engineers and scientists for a 2000 bed NHS Trust before joining what is now Althea in 2006. Sue is currently UK Head of MES Operations for Althea and a member of the senior management team.

Happy International Women’s Day, to all our amazing staff – who bring an invaluable wealth of talent, skills and experience to Althea – and to you! #IWD2020 #EachforEqual

ALTHEA FRANCE A L’AAMB 2019

AAMB: Association des Agents de Maintenance Biomédicale

Althea France sera présente aux 37èmes journées techniques biomédicales de l’AAMB à Saint-Omer du 3 au 5 Décembre 2019.

Toutes nos équipes biomédicales, instrumentation, endoscopie et imagerie seront présentes et vous attendent nombreux au stand 28.

Au programme, rencontres avec nos techniciens, visite de nos ateliers en vidéo et en réalité virtuelle. Venez tester la réalité augmentée avec un casque à réalité virtuelle ! De nombreux cadeaux seront aussi au rendez-vous.

Nous vous attendons tous nombreux au stand 28 !

ALTHEA FRANCE A L’AFVAC 2019

AFVAC: Association Française des Vétérinaires pour Animaux de Compagnie

Althea France sera présente au congrès de l’AFVAC édition 2019 du 28 au 30 Novembre 2019 à Lyon.

Althea France s’intéresse aussi aux animaux et propose des solutions en imagerie aux vétérinaires. Scanner, IRM, radiologie, imagerie interventionnelle ou conventionnelle, venez rencontrer nos équipes au stand A19. En partenariat avec Seemed, nous vous accueillerons avec plaisir sur notre stand et des cadeaux vous seront mêmes offerts.

A très vite sur le stand A19.

Pioneering consumable management service enhances patient safety and traceability

A pioneering consumable management service has been introduced by Althea at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton as an integral part of their Radiology managed service.

Althea has enabled the Trust to track all Radiology products from the moment they are sourced until they are assigned to a patient.  This pioneering service enables the delivery of better patient care, improved clinical productivity and supply chain efficiency; whilst future-proofing the Trust against the Department of Health and Social Care’s Scan4Safety criteria.

Althea’s service includes a bespoke inventory management system and an on-site stock controller who ensures the clinical team can maintain their focus on patient care.

Once products arrive from the centralised Receipt & Distribution area Althea’s stock controller adds them to the inventory management system via a handheld scanner.  The stock controller then decants the right products into the right areas of the Radiology department ensuring there is the appropriate quantity and size of products available for each procedure.  Thereafter the stock controller ensures stock obsolescence is eliminated.

At point-of-care the clinical team then utilise a handheld scanner to assign the product to the patient – including lot and serial numbers.  This allows for lifetime traceability as well as facilitating procedure-level costings for the hospital’s management team.

Once consumed the product is removed from the inventory and an automated replenishment order is raised, with all procurement and finance activities performed by Althea’s back office team – providing the Trust with further efficiency savings.

Dr Katharine Lewis, Clinical Lead for Interventional Radiology, said: “This system can track an exact product to a particular patient, which enhances patient safety.

“We also benefit from the system updating our stock volumes in real-time, enabling us to maintain efficient stock levels to meet clinical demands and we feel it has improved our efficiency and service overall.”

Althea’s consumable management service delivers a reliable, efficient, and patient-focussed service to eight clinical departments at seven NHS hospitals.  The outsourced managed service is fully aligned with NHS England’s recently announced changes to the specialised High-Cost Tariff-Excluded Devices programme and the move to a Visible Cost Model, and is saving hospitals up to 30% on their clinical consumable and device expenditure on a vendor-neutral basis.

Althea is one of the largest independent buyers of Radiology, Cardiology, and Endoscopy clinical consumables and devices in the UK and has achieved economies of scale that lead to real procurement savings and cost avoidance for NHS customers.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer at Althea said “A lot of hospitals have inventory systems in place, however what they cannot do is track every product against a patient and be able to deliver traceability. This innovative service is extremely advanced, and we are delighted that it has made such an impact to the Trust.”

Althea has a catalogue of over 3,500 clinical consumables and devices sourced from over 100 suppliers in line with its ethos of vendor-independence and clinical choice.  Althea dovetails clinical flexibility with operational efficiencies without compromising research and innovation.

ALTHEA FRANCE AUX JFR 2019

JFR: Journées Francophones de Radiologie

Althea France sera présente aux JFR 2019 au Palais des Congrès de Paris du 11 au 14 Octobre 2019.

Venez rencontrer nos équipes imagerie autour d’un apéritif, découvrir nos prestations, nos techniciens, nos offres et compétences. De nombreux cadeaux vous attendent !

A très vite au stand 1N05, Niveau 1, Hall Neuilly !

ALTHEA FRANCE A L’AFIB 2019

AFIB: 24èmes journées d’ingénierie biomédicale

Althea France sera présente aux 24èmes journées d’ingénierie biomédicale de l’AFIB à Reims les 2,3 et 4 Octobre 2019.

Au programme: Rencontres avec nos équipes biomédicales, instrumentation, endoscopie et imagerie autour d’un apéritif convivial. Découverte de nos ateliers en vidéo et en réalité virtuelle, venez tester la réalité augmentée ! Et même des cadeaux seront au rendez-vous.

Nous vous attendons tous nombreux au stand 70 !

ALTHEA FRANCE A LA SF2S 2019

Althea France sera présente au 3ème congrès de la SF2S à Marseille, du 23 au 25 Septembre 2019.

Althea France sera présente au 3ème congrès de stérilisation de la SF2S (Société Française des Sciences de la Stérilisation) à Marseille du 23 au 25 Septembre 2019.
Venez retrouver nos équipes instrumentation au stand 41 autour d’un petit-déjeuner, collation, découvrir nos produits et prestations et même repartir avec des cadeaux !
A très vite sur le stand 41 à la SF2S 2019.

ALTHEA France à l’AFPPE Bordeaux

33èmes rencontres des cadres de radiologie du grand sud

Althea France sera présente aux 33èmes rencontres des cadres de radiologie du grand sud AFPPE à Bordeaux les 19 et 20 Septembre prochains.

Nos équipes imagerie y seront présentes et vous attendent nombreux pour vous présenter nos prestations et répondre à vos questions. De nombreux cadeaux seront aussi de la partie !

A très vite

Althea at Röntgenveckan 2019

Althea will participate in Röntgenveckan 2019, held from the 17th to the 20th of September in Jönköping.

Röntgenveckan is the largest and most important conference of the Swedish radiology industry and, as the name suggests, focus is on diagnostic imaging. Röntgenveckan literally means ‘Radiology week’. This year theme is ‘Guldkorn’, Gold Grains, aiming on planting the seeds of new practical ideas to bring back home.

Loyal to the conference leitmotif, our experts will be at stand #403 ready to help you find out more about how we can help you maintain and manage your diagnostic imaging and radiology equipment in optimal condition, enhancing patient experience and providing a frictionless workflow for all the healthcare professionals.

Book a meeting now, write to se.info@althea-group.com

Looking forward to meeting you all in Jönköping!

Althea supports Glenfield Hospital to be one of first UK centres to offer WATCHMAN FLX™

Althea are delighted to supply Glenfield Hospital with the latest implantable device through their Consumable Management Service (CMS). Glenfield Hospital is one of the first centres to implant Boston Scientific’s next-generation WATCHMAN FLX™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure (LAAC) device following its CE-mark earlier this year.

Working closely with Boston Scientific, Althea were able to facilitate the ground-breaking procedure which took place at Glenfield Hospital, part of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (Leicester’s Hospitals). Althea supply the device, which reduces the risk of stroke in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) patients, directly from Boston Scientific and track the procedural outcome via their bespoke inventory system.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects more than 1 million people in the UK. According to clinical data, more than 90% of stroke-causing blood clots from the heart are formed in the left atrial appendage in non-valvular AF patients. WATCHMAN FLX is a permanent implant which closes the left atrial appendage in the heart to mitigate the stroke risk.

The WATCHMAN FLX implant doesn’t require open-heart surgery and is typically performed under general anaesthetic. During this key-hole procedure, the physician makes a small incision in the upper leg and inserts a flexible tube (catheter) into a vein and guides the WATCHMAN FLX device into the heart. Over time, heart tissue will grow over the implant.

Olivier Lonbois, EMEA VP and GM for Cardiology and Structural Heart, Boston Scientific EMEA said: “The WATCHMAN device has been implanted in more than 90,000 patients worldwide and we are pleased that this next-generation technology has been granted European regulatory approval so that we can offer it to patients and clinicians throughout Europe.”

Althea is the world’s largest vendor-independent managed service and maintenance provider for the acute healthcare sector and delivers a Managed Equipment Service (MES) to many UK and Ireland hospitals, which improves their technology whilst managing the day-to-day concerns of running a department. This includes maintenance and breakdowns and on-going equipment replacements throughout the term of the contract. As an integrated part of the longstanding managed service at Leicester’s Hospitals, Althea also provides a CMS and now manages all the clinical consumables and devices for nine interventional catheter laboratories across Leicester’s Hospitals and the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre.

As demonstrated here, Althea’s CMS ensures the highest 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 Leicester’s Hospitals clinical teams to deliver compliant, sustainable, and patient centric services.

Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most clinically effective and cost efficient service for their clinical needs.