News round-up

The latest news from the medical devices marketplace including new product launches, clinical trials, procurements and equipment warnings/recalls

Telecare project expanded

NEW technology to help keep older and disabled people safe at home is being extended to even more people in Nottinghamshire. Nottinghamshire County Council's telecare service is now available countywide as part of a new partnership with leading tele-healthcare provider, Tunstall. The technology links a range of sensors in the home to a 24-hour monitoring centre. Under the new scheme, systems will be available for unpaid carers, allowing them to get some much-needed respite.

Councillor Stuart Wallace, deputy cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “We live in an ageing population with more and more people diagnosed with dementia each year. This technology will help many others to continue to live in their own homes and give their families peace of mind that they are protected around the clock.” Tunstall’s Alison Rogan added: “The council’s investment in a countywide tele-healthcare project underlines its commitment to transforming the lives of those living with long-term conditions, enabling a truly personalised range of services.” A small weekly charge of £2 is made for the scheme, which uses the existing home phone line to connect the sensors to the monitoring centre.

Driving efficiency in Plymouth

NHS Plymouth has partnered with Tunstall to implement a telehealth programme that will support the management of long-term conditions. It is hoped the deployment will help to drive efficiency within services by tackling the rising costs of treating long-term conditions while at the same time improving patients’ quality of life. It will initially be available to 100 patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and/or chronic heart failure.

Jane Griffin, lead commissioning manager of long-term conditions for NHS Plymouth, said: “We were aware of the possible benefits of telehealth from a number of schemes carried out by other PCTs, and so the decision was made to implement a small-scale programme to see if it could be as beneficial for us and our patients’ needs. Our aim is to support patients to self care and give them greater independence and we are confident that the telehealth programme will enable this to happen.” Simon Arnold of Tunstall added: “Plymouth’s new telehealth programme will deliver efficiency gains by helping the NHS to manage long-term conditions more cost-effectively, reducing unplanned admissions to emergency and secondary care and supporting patients in the home environment.”

POC blood testing boost

THE Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is improving the management and quality control of its point-of-care blood glucose testing with the installation of Roche Accu-Chek Inform II meters and cobas IT 1000 point-of-care data management software. The Accu-Chek meters are located throughout the hospital, in surgical units and diabetes wards, and cobas IT 1000 allows access to them all from a central location. “The Inform II meters were originally placed in critical care areas within the hospital as part of the Safer Patients Initiative, which the trust took part in,” said point-of-care tresting co-ordinator, Anita Jones. “Now cobas IT 1000 links Inform II meters in our surgical units and diabetes wards. This connectivity allows real-time access to the meters and provides central records for Internal Quality Control (IQC so we no longer have to visit each ward to audit IQC and compliance to policy.

“ The software also keeps a record of all trained operators and allows patient records to be stored and accessed centrally, providing valuable information on the number of tests performed. This has helped the trust to improve its blood glucose testing service.

Automated tracking at Huddersfield

BLOOD test results will be faster in the future after a £2m investment in labs at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. In partnership with Siemens, a state-of-the-art automated tracking system has been installed in the labs, which test up to 3,000 samples every day. It means the test time for each sample is reduced from an hour to around 40 minutes without the need for the samples to be carried between each process. Pathology services manager, Sharon Appleby, said: “The investment brings the labs up to the national gold level standards, which means we have, in short, the very best equipment in the country for our patients. The lab is a tremendous asset for the trust and an amazing overhaul of the existing equipment and facilities of which we are very proud. Reducing the test times will be of special benefit to A and E staff, who need the information quickly.” There has also been a £500,000 refurbishment of the laboratory including new work surfaces and windows throughout.

Echo machine improves cardiac care

THE cardiac service at Eastbourne District General Hospital has been enhanced following the purchase of a new echocardiography machine. Paid for with a donation from the League of Friends, the Intelligent Echo Ultrasound System from Philips Medical Systems provides a wide range of information about a patient’s heart and is the most-advanced way of investigating valvular disease, heart failure and congenital heart disease. The equipment can take 2D and 3D images of the heart muscle and valves and provides live high-resolution imaging of the heart to allow special echo procedures to be performed by cardiologists and cardiac physiologists.

Dr Lydia Sturridge, consultant cardiologist, said: “The cardiology department enjoys an outstanding reputation both nationally and internationally and we are very grateful to the Friends for this kind donation that further increases the quality of diagnostics and patient care. The new machine gives crisp high-resolution views of cardiac structure and function that have not been seen so clearly in the past. It gives us access to faster accurate diagnosis and specialist care, which reduces mortality and improves the patient well-being and quality of life.”

£5m telehealth scheme for Gloucester

NHS Gloucestershire is rolling out a £5m telehealth programme in conjunction with Tunstall Healthcare. The project will start with 2,000 people suffering from long-term conditions including COPD, heart disease and diabetes, and involves patients monitoring their health at home using equipment which then reports the results to health professionals. Dr Will Haynes, a GP from the Hadwen Medical Practice and practice-based commissioning lead for Gloucester, said: “Although this is a relatively new technology which we are learning more about as time goes by, evidence is beginning to be seen that it can help medical people and patients manage some conditions.”

Bariatric X-ray system for Ripley

NEW X-ray equipment has been installed at Ripley Community Hospital thanks to a £90,000 donation from the Ripley Hospital League of Friends. The new machine can cater for patients weighing up to 32 stone, whereas the old machine had a limit of 24 stone. Phil Thornhill, superintendent radiographer at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “This fantastic new equipment will help us improve the quality of the service we can provide for local patients at Ripley. Our current X-ray equipment was overdue for replacement so we are incredibly grateful to the League of Friends for funding this total refurbishment.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS:

The Portland Hospital for Women and Children has installed an ACUSON S2000 ultrasound system from Siemens Healthcare. The system will be used for general scanning in obstetric, gynaecological, paediatric, breast and cardiac examinations…

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