On 31st July 2017 University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) and Althea celebrated the tenth anniversary of their vendor-independent managed service. 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 Althea & 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 Althea supported the Trust opening the UK’s first ‘frailty friendly’ Emergency Floor with state-of-the-art embedded imaging including CT and x-ray. Althea 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.
Althea’s vendor-independent focus on clinical outcomes and patient experience continues in the integrated consumables management service (CMS). Our 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. Althea’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 Althea 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, Althea’s UK&I 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 Althea 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.”