Breast cancer screening vehicle - Asteral

Althea transforms digital mammogram capabilities for UHL

Althea, the leading managed equipment services (MES) provider to the NHS, was recently awarded a contract by University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust to deliver innovative digital breast screening technology housed in three mobile units.  The purpose-built trailers are fitted with Hologic Selenia full-field digital mammography units and complete the digital transformation of the UHL Breast Care Centre.

Althea has played a major part in transforming facilities at Leicester’s Hospitals.  This latest agreement is an extension of an existing MES relationship and forms part of wider initiative to meet mandates set out by the Department of Health in the 2008 Cancer Reform Strategy to improve cancer services across the country. With the new digital units, UHL will now provide screening for 120,000 women on a three-year cycle across 13 sites in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland area.

Joan Richards, breast imaging manager at UHL, says: “These mobile units provide patients with greater access to state-of-the-art facilities.  The new digital equipment produces sharper, more detailed images instantly rather than waiting for x-ray films to be developed.  We can pick up technical faults straight away and repeat the x-ray immediately.  Previously patients had to return another day.  We can also manipulate the images, which is helpful with dense breast tissue and may mean fewer women require second stage assessment.”

Under the terms of the MES agreement, Althea was responsible for financing the units and for all work related to building and running them including tendering, procuring, project management and servicing of equipment.  This allowed the Trust to concentrate solely on the clinical aspects of the upgrade.

“The flexibility of the MES relationship facilitates innovative technology implementation and delivers considerable efficiency, process and financial benefits,” says Robert Mason, General Manager.  “We are delighted about this extension of the MES contract which has resulted in a fully digital breast screening service across the region.  Our staff have worked well together throughout the planning, design and build of the mobile units, ensuring they offer the best possible patient experience and diagnostic capabilities.”