THE National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has approved Inditherm's Patient Warming Mattress for use in NHS hospitals amid evidence it could help save more than £15m a year. New guidance recommends its use for patients undergoing surgery under anaesthetic who may be at risk of inadvertent hypothermia. The NICE document estimates the annual cost saving to be £9,800 per operating theatre compared with current technology, and claims a reduction in post-operative infections, lower running costs and faster turnaround times. Nick Bettles of Inditherm said: “We are delighted that NICE has recognised the value of our mattress, both in terms of improving patient safety and significantly reducing hospital expenditure. I am confident this positive recommendation will see an increase in interest in our product and it is more consistent use across NHS operating theatres.” Dr Ayman Eissa, consultant anaesthetist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, added: “The mattress has solved one of the biggest problems in paediatric anaesthesia, by keeping the patients warm no matter how long they are in surgery. Patient warming is a necessity to prevent complications and we have found the system very effective having used it for several years.”
SOUTHERN Health NHS Foundation Trust has launched a medical devices governance team in a bid to share best practice and ideas across the service. The team will look both at ways in which it can improve the use of innovative technologies, and any possible problems or pitfalls that need to be avoided. A trust spokesman said: “We hope to improve the sharing of great ideas and ones that are best not repeated. This includes stopping someone from placing an electric blanket on a pressure-relieving mattress. We aim to help staff in their everyday work by supporting them through the little medical device challenges they encounter, from standardisation to servicing and from tendering to training.” The team has already organised syringe driver training and is also planning the standardisation of gloves across the trust, which currently uses more than 200 different types. The spokesman said: “The aim is to reduce the type and variety of gloves to a usable minimum to reduce costs and enable the ability to gain greater discounts via increased quantity purchasing.”
INPATIENTS at hospitals in Derby are now experiencing the ‘thermal spread’ following the introduction of a new type of bedding, which is lighter and warmer and helps make their stay more comfortable. Nursing staff and facilities management staff at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have replaced the traditional counterpane and blanket with the all-in-one product, which offers increased warmth without excessive weight. The change is also proving cost effective as the move secures an annual saving of approximately £38,000 on linen and laundry costs because the thermal spreads reduces the need for as much linen to be used. Kerry Pape, assistant director of nursing at the trust, said: “Improving patient care is at the heart of introducing thermal spreads and feedback from our pilots has been very positive. It benefits patients because we’re now using items which look better, stay in place, and are warmer and softer than what we’ve previously used. We’re doing all we can to ensure inpatients have as comfortable as possible a stay with us and putting their care first.” The trust has also introduced new ‘good practice linen guidelines’, which provide simple instructions to ensure consistency across the trust and so that staff know exactly when to change bedding and what standards are expected.
BARNSLEY Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has invested in an Hologic Discovery A DXA scanner from Vertec Scientific. Staff are confident the bone density service will be well received, though DXA scanning is new to Barnsley Hospital. Karen Sharman, dermatology manager at the trust, said: “NHS Barnsley is completely dedicated to supporting the health of local people and this osteoporosis scanning service will prove to be an asset.”
ARROWE Park Hospital in Upton, Wirral, has invested in a CT Expres 3D syringe-less injector unit from Kimal to use with its Toshiba Aquilion 64 CT scanner. The unit incorporates safety features to prevent the injection of air, automatically flush saline and to ensure a precise dose is administered to the patient. It also increases patient throughput by reducing the time taken to inject CT contrast media. Gail Green, senior CT radiographer at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We found that the Kimal CT Expres fulfilled all our requirements with regards to cost, safety and ease-of-use.”
A NEW linear accelerator is being installed at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness to provide a comprehensive range of radiotherapy techniques for patients. The Varian TrueBeam, the first of its kind in Scotland, will allow the radiotherapy department to treat patients with intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Dr David Whillis, consultant oncologist for NHS Highland, said: “We are delighted with the arrival of the new machine. We know that approximately half of all new cancer patients are likely to require radiotherapy as part of their initial disease management, and the numbers of patients is also rising.” Nichola Summers, service manager for cancer services, added: “There is a lengthy installation and commissioning process for this piece of kit, but we would expect it to be ready for clinical use by the middle of next year.”
WILLIAMS Medical Supplies has signed a partnership agreement with diagnostics specialist, Huntleigh Healthcare, to bring its five-minute peripheral arterial disease (PAD) screening test to the NHS. Using routine ankle brachial index screening (ABI), GPs and nurses will be able to test 450% more patients than using current methods, which involve a vascular Doppler and aneroid blood pressure gauge and can take up to 30 minutes. Dr Jon Evans of Huntleigh Healthcare said: “This is a major breakthrough in faster evaluation that will improve diagnosis rates, the patient experience, and save the NHS time and money.” Currently in the UK around one in five men and one in eight women aged 50-75 have PAD.
Royal Philips Electronics has unveiled IntelliVue MX40, a patient monitor that can be used for ambulatory patients and during patient transport. The device combines the benefits of the IntelliVue X2 and Philips' telemetry into a single, compact, wearable monitor.