Althea installs two state-of-the-art 3D mammography units at Derby Hospital

Two state-of-art 3D mammography systems that offer women a more comfortable breast exam experience have been installed at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

The technology – GE Senographe Pristina Mammography System – was installed by Althea as part of the Trust’s Managed Equipment Service (MES) contract.

The upgraded facilities include a tomosynthesis, biopsy and contrast enhancement – features that the hospital’s old equipment didn’t have. The extra additions enable the Royal Derby team at UHDB’s Royal Derby Hospital site to be at the forefront of technology and research enabling the people of Derby to get the best diagnostic care.

The Senographe Pristina mammography system was designed to ease anxiety of patients as they enter the exam room. The new, inviting mammography promotes a sense of calm and has redesigned patient comfort to ensure women are comfortable during their examination.

Having these capabilities on both pieces of equipment enables patients in Derby to have multiple elements of care in one visit, rather than having to come back for the biopsy on a separate occasion. Clinicians also benefit from these installations as they increase the Trust’s scope of practice and meet requirements for continued professional development.

Lee Chlechowicz, Breast Screening and PACS Clinical Manager, added: “The new pieces of equipment are ergonomically designed and has enhanced capabilities which enables our patients to have a more comfortable and comprehensive diagnostic experience in a single visit, rather than having to come back for the biopsy on a separate occasion. Our clinicians and radiographers also benefit from these installations as they increase our scope of practice and meet requirements for continued professional development.”

Althea has a 10-year contract with the Trust which started in 2014.

Pictured left to right: Jordan Reid (Senior Radiographer), Jean Bonsall (Superintendant Radiographer), Fiona Oliver (Senior Radiographer) & Elaine Lewis (Superintendant Radiographer).

Althea installs two state-of-the-art Radiology Equipment at Peterborough City Hospital

Althea is delighted to have installed two brand new Radiology equipment at Peterborough City Hospital. Both replacements were part of the hospitals ongoing Managed Equipment Service (MES) contract.

The first replacement was an interventional suite in December 2018, which included the installation of the Philips Allura Clarity FD20.

The replacement plan involved the clinical team revising the layout of the room to allow a better work flow. The lighting was also upgraded to LED within the main theatre to provide better light for all users – a change which has impacted positively on clinicians’ day-to-day working environments.

Throughout the installation Althea and the Trust worked closely together to keep clinical downtime to a minimum and limit any disruption during the build phase of the project.

The Interventional Suite is used to carry out angiograms, stenting, embolisations, IVF filter insertions and nephrograms. It is currently on a 7-year lifecycle replacement scheme within the MES.

Neil Meadows from the trust commented: “This new FD20 machine is far superior to our previous machine, with very positive feedback from the Radiologists and Clinicians, we have also seen a reduction in dose that the patient receives, which is very positive.”

The second installation, which was completed in March 2019, was the wide bore Radiotherapy CT used to plan treatment for cancer patients.

It was vital this project ran to schedule to avoid delays in planning patient’s radiotherapy treatments. The Radiotherapy Department was able to work in conjunction with the diagnostic team in Radiology to share the diagnostic CT throughout the installation.

Althea hosts Italian interns at Peterborough City Hospital

Althea are delighted to be hosting two Italian interns at Peterborough City Hospital as part of a four-month work placement at the hospital.

Luca Burla and Lorenzo Serschen came to the UK on the 10th February and will be staying until the 25th June working with the Althea team based on-site.

The medical engineer interns are both studying Biomedical Engineering in Trieste, North East Italy, but wanted to come to the UK to put their knowledge into action within a clinical setting.

Under the guidance of Clinical Equipment Manager Carla Wood, the pair are working to MHRA Management of Medical Device guidelines which is what is expected onsite.

“It’s been great to have them join our team and be able to give them so much diverse training”, said Carla.

“We deliver a full MES contract at Peterborough, covering both biomedical and DI, which means they have had the opportunity to work on a range of equipment. Everything from thermometers to state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging equipment.”

As well as learning more about how a UK hospital system works, they have also been able to use and test a variety of machines, as well as gain vast experience from the wider Althea team.

For example, they have learnt more about the role of the librarian, a position that doesn’t exist in Italy, how they operate and their importance. They have also met with Francesco Capello, an ultrasound engineer that studied on the same course a couple of years ago, who is teaching them about ultrasound scanners and probes.

Luca said: “We are really enjoying our time here in Peterborough and have had the opportunity to check our abilities in a real-life clinical setting. At the beginning it was a little but difficult as we had to learn different work rhythms, culture and language, but now we are settled in we are learning so much from the experience. Thank you to everyone for their kindness and support.”

Spotlight on Althea’s MR training

Training is a huge part of Althea’s culture. Whether it’s being trained as a new starter or developing skills for a different role, internal training plays a key part.

Mark McArthur is Althea’s Modality Coach (MR) and following years of experience and his dual role working as Tech Support and Training Specialist across Europe, he is able to pass on his vast knowledge to MRI field service engineers.

At Theale we are extremely lucky to have a Centre of Excellence in MR which is accessed by Althea employees from around the world,” explains Mark.

“We have fully functional Siemens MR systems that we can use for in-depth training, testing parts and coils, as well as showing customers when they visit our head office. It is a wonderful facility that we can use in so many ways to help people learn and develop new skills.”

The MR courses that Mark runs combine a mixture of classroom-based learning and practical workshops. The service engineers are taught to fix the problem remotely by diagnosing the issue on the phone whilst speaking to the customer. If it cannot be diagnosed remotely then a part is ordered and fixed onsite –  one visit, one fix.

A lot of the courses we do are two weeks long, so they are very in-depth. In the morning we cover lots of theory and then do more practical activities in the afternoon. There is a big focus on troubleshooting as I have found that most engineers learn more by going through the process of diagnosing a problem and finding the solution. That way when they are actually faced with the same fault in the field, they know exactly what to do.”

Mark explains that what he enjoys most about the role is that no two days are the same and he gets to work with people with different industry backgrounds.

A perfect example of this was on the Aera/Skyra Systems Course we ran recently. There was someone who has worked for an OEM for over 25 years. Despite their vast experience and knowledge of systems they still learn something new every day.

“We also have a trainee graduate, straight from Sheffield Hallam University, who had been trained by Althea in-house from scratch. They are now able to put their theory into practice by learning on the job from the more experienced members of the team.”

“The third was a new starter, who hasn’t worked for an OEM but has worked in industry and brought with them different knowledge to the team. Three very different paths but all coming together to support one another and learn from each other’s knowledge. It’s fantastic that we have such a great resource here at Althea and I am lucky to meet so many different people from across the company. I really do have the best job in the world!”