News Companies & careers

by Admin 1. November 2007 17:29
 







Maquet appoints new MD

Bill al-Khatib MAQUET LTD, a leading UK supplier of equipment for operating theatres and critical care, has appointed Bill Al-Khatib as Managing Director. The company plans to transfer the administration of its cardiopulmonary business to its Head Office in Sunderland.

Serge Exshaw, the former MD of Maquet Ltd, has been appointed MD of Maquet’s business in France. Bill Al-Khatib has been Managing Director of Maquet Ireland, and has worked for the company in the UK and Germany. While in the UK, he was Sales and Marketing Manager responsible for operating tables, ceiling pendants and theatre lights. “I’m delighted to be returning,” said Bill. “The business in the UK continues to grow, thanks to Serge’s direction and leadership and the hard work of the whole team. Customer relations remain at the heart of Maquet’s business philosophy. That's why I believe it's important we work with and not simply for our customers.”

Maquet plans to transfer the administration of its cardiopulmonary business to the company’s head office in Sunderland. The move will be completed by November 2007 and will result in the closure of the company’s Glasgow office. These changes have been made in preparation for the introduction of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

BSN invests in wound care

Helen Phillips MEDICAL DEVICE COMPANY BSN Medical Ltd plans to expand its wound care sector through recruitment and new product development.

BSN plans to expand its sales and marketing team by recruiting a new community-based sales force, a sales manager and two clinical specialists in a phased approach. It will offer its products to the largest PCT areas first. There will also be opportunities within the marketing team.

BSN Medical specialises in lymphoedema management, compression therapy and orthopaedic casting and bandaging. It was formed as a joint venture organisation in 2001, with Beiersdorf AG and Smith & Nephew as parent companies. In 2006 it became independent.

Helen Phillips, heading up the new teams as Business Unit Manager for Wound Care and Phlebology, said: “Innovative products with unique selling propositions are the focus of our advanced wound care portfolio. We believe that we can help the NHS to save a significant amount of money whilst still achieving improved clinical results.”

“This is a very exciting time for BSN,” said Phillips. “We are ready to expand our existing team with additional dynamic, enthusiastic and well-trained people. The business plan is solid, the new product pipeline looks good and the sales opportunity is there.”

Louder than words

SPECIALIST HEALTHCARE and scientific recruitment company Kirkham Young Ltd has gained a major professional accreditation.

Kirkham Young has received an ISO 9000, the internationally recognised standard for an organisation’s internal quality management: the actions it takes to ensure that its products or services satisfy its customers’ quality requirements and comply with regulations.

This accreditation confirms the company’s vision statement: “To be recognised as a top quality, honest and reputable recruitment company in specialist markets.” It goes well with their current corporate membership of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, as well as their investment in the development of their staff (which includes ensuring that they are all professionally qualified).

Tina Young, Director, commented: “We are delighted to have received this award, which now backs up the high levels of support we have always offered with a formal accreditation.”

Talentmark marks a new talent

HEALTHCARE AND LIFE SCIENCE RECRUITMENT company Talentmark has recruited Richard Geddis to manage seniorlevel commercial assignments.

Richard Geddis has 13 years’ experience within the healthcare industry. While at SSC Staff Consultants, he progressed from Recruitment Consultant to overall Business Manager. While previously at Johnson & Johnson, he worked as both Regional Business Manager and Training and Development Manager.

Richard Geddis Richard commented: “I’m really excited about the challenge my move to Talentmark represents, and am looking forward to applying my knowledge and experience to the recruitment of senior executive roles across our markets.” Richard Adams, International VP, said: “We are delighted to have Richard join our team to support our recent growth and contribute to further planned expansion of our services.

Richard’s enthusiasm, energy and expertise in managing assignments augur well for his success.”

Talentmark is a specialist recruitment company for senior commercial, scientific and technical executive roles in the UK and internationally.

Advancing within Advance

Dave Johnson HEALTHCARE RECRUITMENT company Advance Recruitment has promoted Dave Johnson to the position of Business Manager, after six years of successful service as a Recruitment Consultant.

Dave Johnson will have overall responsibility for candidates based in Scotland, Ireland and the North-East of England. Dave said: “I am delighted to have been rewarded for the effort put in over the last few years. I really enjoy working at Advance, we have a great team here and I can’t believe that after six years, I am still the shortest-serving member of the team.”

Nick Langley, MD of Advance, commented that Dave epitomises the philosophy of first-class service that has been the heart of Advance’s success over the last decade. As was reported in the October On Target, Advance has recently launched a new website and corporate identity.

Winning ways at AfPP

TWO HEALTHCARE RECRUITMENT COMPANIES at the 2007 AfPP Congress (see report on page 13) held competitions at the event.

Blueprint Medical Recruitment celebrated its fifth birthday with a quiz competition. The winner was Mike Smith of Huntleigh Healthcare, who will be enjoying a hot air balloon ride in the near future.

Delta Consultants invited delegates and exhibitors to take part in a Countdown-style contest: to make as many words as they could out of ‘Realising Potential’, the title of this year’s Congress. The innovative winner turned it into a Scrabble-style game and found an astonishing thirteen words.

Delta also ran a free draw for £150 worth of John Lewis vouchers. The winner was Karen Robinson, neurology ODP at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. Karen has worked in theatres for the last three years. “I like blood and guts,” she happily admits.

Asteral’s fairway to raise charity funds

HEALTHCARE COMPANY ASTERAL united players from the NHS and the healthcare industry in a golfing day to raise funds for neonatal care.

Asteral, the leading vendor-independent Managed Equipment Service (MES) provider to the NHS, held a Charity Day at Henley Golf Club. The event brought together Asteral’s customers, business partners and medical equipment suppliers to raise money for The Whittington Hospital ‘Building for Babies’ appeal.

The day was attended by senior clinical and management personnel from three local NHS Trusts. Representatives from industry included golfers from GE, Morgan Cole, Orchard PPP, Roche, Siemens, Toshiba and Xograph. Over £1000 was raised for the charity.

David Cook, Operations Director at Asteral, said: “The Charity Golf Day was a great success, bringing together representatives from the MES marketplace and raising funds for a valuable cause. At the request of a number of attendees, we plan to make this an annual event.”

The Whittington Hospital ‘Building for Babies’ charity aims to raise over £600,000 to expand and refurbish the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and purchase equipment for it.

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Medtech Features

A Day in the Life

by Admin 1. November 2007 17:26

 







The safer injection

Surety Needle UK HEALTHCARE COMPANY Response Medical has launched Surety™ Needle, a new retractable safety needle developed to eliminate the threat of needlestick injuries – the second most common cause of accidents to NHS staff.

Surety Needle is compatible with all commonly-used syringes. It can be used for blood draw, intramuscular and intravenous injections. The needle is designed for one-handed operation and, once retracted, cannot be reused. During use, the fingers do not go forward of the contaminated needle.

Over 40,000 needlestick injuries occur in the UK every year. Penetration of the skin with a contaminated needle exposes the victim to bloodborne infections such as HIV and hepatitis. The cost of needlestick injuries is estimated to be £500,000 per annum to each NHS Trust.

Matthew Root, Managing Director of Response Medical, said: “Needlestick injuries are the silent threat which haunt every ward and clinic up and down the country. But with Surety™ Needle, healthcare employers can now safely exercise their duty of care towards employees.”

Response Medical is based in Gloucestershire, and is part of the International Medical Devices (IMD) Group. For more details, visit www.suretyproducts.com or www.responsemedical.co.uk.

New spinal implants for UK

AMERICAN SPINAL IMPLANT SUPPLIER X-spine Systems, Inc. has contracted Highland Medical Ltd of Oxfordshire as the designated UK distributor for its products.

This agreement follows the CE Mark approval of X-spine’s Capless™ and Spider Cervical™ spinal implant products for distribution in the EU. “We are thrilled to be bringing the Capless and Spider systems to Europe,” said David Kirschman, MD, President of X-spine Systems. “These products incorporate technologies not currently available to European surgeons, so we feel that there is a great opportunity to build X-spine’s presence.”

The Capless™ Pedicle Screw System incorporates a rotary locking mechanism that affixes the rod in place without a separate cap or setscrew. This allows for faster surgeries without the risk of cap loosening, cap loss or cross-threading, and reduces the number of parts to stock and inventory. The Spider Cervical™ Plating System consists of a cervical fixation plate with a patented “resilient arm” locking mechanism. The system also eliminates false screw locking by providing auditory, tactile and visual feedback to the surgeon. X-spine Systems, Inc. develops proprietary technology for the spinal surgery industry. For more details, visit www.x-spine.com.

Monitor for leg ulcer care

Vowden Trainer A NEW UK PRESSURE MONITOR that increases the accuracy of leg ulcer treatment will be launched at the Medica 2007 trade fair in Germany.

The Vowden Trainer monitor, from UK company Ulsys, allows the pressure applied by compression bandaging – the preferred treatment for venous leg ulcers – to be accurately measured and optimised. Ulsys developed this solution in response to the problems of inconsistent pressure application, and with the support of leaders in clinical care and bandage assessment.

Mick Karol, Managing Director of Ulsys, said: “Pressure sores and venous leg ulcers are the most common form of chronic wounds in the Western world. We have developed the Vowden Trainer to allow for greater accuracy in the treatment of such wounds, and are looking to source distributors and joint venture partners.”

Prof. Peter Vowden, Head of the Department of Vascular Surgery and Wound Healing at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said: “This revolutionary device provides a much-needed solution for training in the treatment of leg ulcers. It allows healthcare professionals to ascertain the exact level of pressure they are applying with the bandage, and hopefully allows them to improve effectiveness and safety of care.”

Ulsys is based in Halifax, and specialises in pressure monitoring. For more details, visit www.ulsys.co.uk.

Specialist clinic installs PACS

A PRIVATE ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC at St Luke’s Hospital in Oxford has become one of the first smaller specialist clinics to adopt picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) for radiographic images.

IMPAX Web 1000 St Luke’s has installed Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Web 1000 solution, a web-deployable PACS for radiology services that receives, distributes, archives and displays radiographic images. Through a digital connection to virtually any imaging modality, departmental units are able to gain an integrated view of patient data from a single interface.

“At our facility, the ‘before and after’ picture with Agfa IMPAX has been quite dramatic,” explains Jean Leece, consultant radiographer at the clinic. “Although there is a slight incremental increase in the amount of time one needs to spend entering patient data into IMPAX, once this is complete the system works beautifully. Editing patient files and managing radiographic images has become a substantially more efficient process.” Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading provider of IT-enabled systems for image management in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For more details, visit www.agfa.com.

UK device wins innovation award

INCOSTRESS, a new device to prevent female stress incontinence, has won the Gold medal for Innovation at the British Innovation and Technology Awards. Produced by C&G Medicare Ltd, Incostress offers a non-surgical solution to stress incontinence – which affects some 4 million women in the UK – by providing support to the bladder and urethra. The launch of the device, with support from the Wales Innovation Network, follows clinical trials at Singleton Hospital, Swansea and focus groups around Europe.

Incostress The trials reported patients with serious incontinence problems being taken off surgery lists. The award was presented at The British Invention Show, Alexandra Palace, London. Gaynor Morgan, director of C&G Medicare Ltd and inventor of Incostress, said: “Clinical studies and user feedback confirm that Incostress begins to work immediately, bringing instant relief to sufferers of this awful condition.

“Incontinence is still regarded as a taboo subject. Maybe a simple non-surgical solution, in the form of Incostress, can restore personal confidence and provide a way to bring incontinence into the open for the benefit of all women.”

For more details, visit www.incostress.com.

Bionic foot makes its mark

ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALIST OSSUR has won a 2007 da Vinci award for its innovative prosthesis, the Proprio Foot™. The Proprio Foot is the first prosthetic foot able to respond automatically to changing terrain, as when climbing stairs. It belongs to Ossur’s FlexFoot range of bionic prostheses, whose UK users include footballer Spike Westbrook (see On Target, February 2007).

The da Vinci Awards, made annually in the USA by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, honour outstanding achievements in engineering related to product design and application.

“We take great pleasure in knowing that the Proprio Foot has won the 2007 da Vinci Award,” said Eythor Bender, President of Ossur America. “The foot was launched in September 2006, and the US Department of Defense and the VA are actively using it to benefit servicemen. It is also quickly becoming the foot of choice for diabetic amputees all over the world.”

The product was designed together with UK company DesignEdge. According to Alasdair Barnett in www.electronicsweekly. com, “Ossur developed the complex internal electronics and mechanisms and DesignEdge worked in partnership with engineers in Iceland to design the external forms. The resulting design was well received by users for both its style and performance.”

Proprio Foot The Proprio Foot has also won the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award and Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 Medical Devices Technology Innovation Award. Ossur’s UK operation is based in Manchester. For

 

 

A Day in the Life

In the third of our series on industry high flyers, Graeme Gilbertson, Clinical Sales Support Specialist at VacSax, talks to On Target about his working life.

How would you define your role?

VacSax has a national contract for medical suction products with NHS Scotland, so from an actual sales point of view there’s not a lot to be done! My job is to go into each Trust and speak to procurement managers and clinical staff, getting everyone together to agree on implementation plans and move forward.

What happens in your typical working day?

My day is quite geographically driven. Scotland is quite a large area, so there’s a lot of travelling – for example, Aberdeen is a six-hour return trip for me. I’ll try to spend a day or two at a time in a more remote region such as the North-East or the South-West. I make a point of visiting every hospital we’ve already converted once every few weeks, to do any jobs that need to be done and speak to anyone I need to speak to. Long drives are a great opportunity to catch up on telephone calls (using a hands-free set) and think through plans and strategies, with fewer distractions than at home.

I’m not constrained by times to get home during the week. I might get home late or early. If I’m a long way from home, I’ll book a hotel room in case I need to stop over and carry on in the morning. It’s better to book a room and cancel it than need one and not get one. I have to make sure there is adequate time to give the customers attention. Before I started this job I was a senior staff nurse in theatre at a private unit, so I was always on call and my time was never my own. In this job the week belongs to work, but the weekend is my own time.

My clinical experience helps me in other ways. The bulk of my work is done in specialist areas like theatres and A&E, so it’s helpful being comfortable with that environment – and having a good sense of when clinical staff are under pressure and you would do better to come back another day. You’ll get more respect from the client for stepping back when appropriate than for just standing there and expecting them to be free. As you build relationships with customers, you become more aware of their priorities.

Sometimes they may need your help. Once I was up in the North-East of Scotland and someone on the West Coast needed something fairly sharpish. The only solution was for me to drive home, pick it up and get over there. That was a long day! But it was doable, so it was done. As a staff nurse, I learned a lot about what a difference suppliers can make in tight situations.

How is your market changing, and how does that affect how you sell?

The VacSax national contract means that my market is assured for the next few years. However, individual units aren’t always receptive to a deal where they have had no input. The end users have to want to use the product, so you may need to ‘sell’ it to them over again. Where there is resistance, I work on the ground with clinical staff to build their trust and confidence.
kirkham young
‘A Day in the Life’ is sponsored by Kirkham Young, one of the UK’s leading recruitment consultancies for the healthcare industry. To help you on your way to becoming a high flyer, call Kirkham Young on 0870 7873134 or visit their website at www.kirkhamyoung.co.uk.

 

Tags:

Medtech Features

News Products

by Admin 1. November 2007 17:23
 







The safer injection

Surety Needle UK HEALTHCARE COMPANY Response Medical has launched Surety™ Needle, a new retractable safety needle developed to eliminate the threat of needlestick injuries – the second most common cause of accidents to NHS staff.

Surety Needle is compatible with all commonly-used syringes. It can be used for blood draw, intramuscular and intravenous injections. The needle is designed for one-handed operation and, once retracted, cannot be reused. During use, the fingers do not go forward of the contaminated needle.

Over 40,000 needlestick injuries occur in the UK every year. Penetration of the skin with a contaminated needle exposes the victim to bloodborne infections such as HIV and hepatitis. The cost of needlestick injuries is estimated to be £500,000 per annum to each NHS Trust.

Matthew Root, Managing Director of Response Medical, said: “Needlestick injuries are the silent threat which haunt every ward and clinic up and down the country. But with Surety™ Needle, healthcare employers can now safely exercise their duty of care towards employees.”

Response Medical is based in Gloucestershire, and is part of the International Medical Devices (IMD) Group. For more details, visit www.suretyproducts.com or www.responsemedical.co.uk.

New spinal implants for UK

AMERICAN SPINAL IMPLANT SUPPLIER X-spine Systems, Inc. has contracted Highland Medical Ltd of Oxfordshire as the designated UK distributor for its products.

This agreement follows the CE Mark approval of X-spine’s Capless™ and Spider Cervical™ spinal implant products for distribution in the EU. “We are thrilled to be bringing the Capless and Spider systems to Europe,” said David Kirschman, MD, President of X-spine Systems. “These products incorporate technologies not currently available to European surgeons, so we feel that there is a great opportunity to build X-spine’s presence.”

The Capless™ Pedicle Screw System incorporates a rotary locking mechanism that affixes the rod in place without a separate cap or setscrew. This allows for faster surgeries without the risk of cap loosening, cap loss or cross-threading, and reduces the number of parts to stock and inventory. The Spider Cervical™ Plating System consists of a cervical fixation plate with a patented “resilient arm” locking mechanism. The system also eliminates false screw locking by providing auditory, tactile and visual feedback to the surgeon. X-spine Systems, Inc. develops proprietary technology for the spinal surgery industry. For more details, visit www.x-spine.com.

Monitor for leg ulcer care

Vowden Trainer A NEW UK PRESSURE MONITOR that increases the accuracy of leg ulcer treatment will be launched at the Medica 2007 trade fair in Germany.

The Vowden Trainer monitor, from UK company Ulsys, allows the pressure applied by compression bandaging – the preferred treatment for venous leg ulcers – to be accurately measured and optimised. Ulsys developed this solution in response to the problems of inconsistent pressure application, and with the support of leaders in clinical care and bandage assessment.

Mick Karol, Managing Director of Ulsys, said: “Pressure sores and venous leg ulcers are the most common form of chronic wounds in the Western world. We have developed the Vowden Trainer to allow for greater accuracy in the treatment of such wounds, and are looking to source distributors and joint venture partners.”

Prof. Peter Vowden, Head of the Department of Vascular Surgery and Wound Healing at Bradford Royal Infirmary, said: “This revolutionary device provides a much-needed solution for training in the treatment of leg ulcers. It allows healthcare professionals to ascertain the exact level of pressure they are applying with the bandage, and hopefully allows them to improve effectiveness and safety of care.”

Ulsys is based in Halifax, and specialises in pressure monitoring. For more details, visit www.ulsys.co.uk.

Specialist clinic installs PACS

A PRIVATE ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC at St Luke’s Hospital in Oxford has become one of the first smaller specialist clinics to adopt picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) for radiographic images.

IMPAX Web 1000 St Luke’s has installed Agfa HealthCare’s IMPAX Web 1000 solution, a web-deployable PACS for radiology services that receives, distributes, archives and displays radiographic images. Through a digital connection to virtually any imaging modality, departmental units are able to gain an integrated view of patient data from a single interface.

“At our facility, the ‘before and after’ picture with Agfa IMPAX has been quite dramatic,” explains Jean Leece, consultant radiographer at the clinic. “Although there is a slight incremental increase in the amount of time one needs to spend entering patient data into IMPAX, once this is complete the system works beautifully. Editing patient files and managing radiographic images has become a substantially more efficient process.” Agfa HealthCare, a member of the Agfa-Gevaert Group, is a leading provider of IT-enabled systems for image management in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

For more details, visit www.agfa.com.

UK device wins innovation award

INCOSTRESS, a new device to prevent female stress incontinence, has won the Gold medal for Innovation at the British Innovation and Technology Awards. Produced by C&G Medicare Ltd, Incostress offers a non-surgical solution to stress incontinence – which affects some 4 million women in the UK – by providing support to the bladder and urethra. The launch of the device, with support from the Wales Innovation Network, follows clinical trials at Singleton Hospital, Swansea and focus groups around Europe.

Incostress The trials reported patients with serious incontinence problems being taken off surgery lists. The award was presented at The British Invention Show, Alexandra Palace, London. Gaynor Morgan, director of C&G Medicare Ltd and inventor of Incostress, said: “Clinical studies and user feedback confirm that Incostress begins to work immediately, bringing instant relief to sufferers of this awful condition.

“Incontinence is still regarded as a taboo subject. Maybe a simple non-surgical solution, in the form of Incostress, can restore personal confidence and provide a way to bring incontinence into the open for the benefit of all women.”

For more details, visit www.incostress.com.

Bionic foot makes its mark

ORTHOPAEDIC SPECIALIST OSSUR has won a 2007 da Vinci award for its innovative prosthesis, the Proprio Foot™. The Proprio Foot is the first prosthetic foot able to respond automatically to changing terrain, as when climbing stairs. It belongs to Ossur’s FlexFoot range of bionic prostheses, whose UK users include footballer Spike Westbrook (see On Target, February 2007).

The da Vinci Awards, made annually in the USA by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, honour outstanding achievements in engineering related to product design and application.

“We take great pleasure in knowing that the Proprio Foot has won the 2007 da Vinci Award,” said Eythor Bender, President of Ossur America. “The foot was launched in September 2006, and the US Department of Defense and the VA are actively using it to benefit servicemen. It is also quickly becoming the foot of choice for diabetic amputees all over the world.”

The product was designed together with UK company DesignEdge. According to Alasdair Barnett in www.electronicsweekly. com, “Ossur developed the complex internal electronics and mechanisms and DesignEdge worked in partnership with engineers in Iceland to design the external forms. The resulting design was well received by users for both its style and performance.”

Proprio Foot The Proprio Foot has also won the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award and Frost & Sullivan’s 2006 Medical Devices Technology Innovation Award. Ossur’s UK operation is based in Manchester. For

Tags:

Medtech Features

News General

by Admin 1. November 2007 15:56
 







PM’s tour of medtech innovation

PRIME MINISTER GORDON Brown has witnessed the power of innovative healthcare technologies during a visit to Imperial College London.

The College’s Rector, former GSK Chairman Sir Richard Sykes, and Professor of Surgery and Parliamentary Under- Secretary for Health Lord Ara Darzi took the PM on a tour of the College’s newly-launched Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

During the tour, Brown took a particular interest in the virtual operating theatre used for cardiac microsurgery. The College’s Director of Medical Imaging, Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, discussed the applications of robotic surgical devices, while Lord Darzi – a pioneer of minimallyinvasive surgery – demonstrated a virtual medical procedure.

Professor Yang said: “Minimal-access surgery reduces the impact trauma of an operation on patients, but it requires pinpoint accuracy and a very steady hand. Enabling the surgeon to operate via a robot represents the perfect marriage of human skill with technological advances in biomedical engineering.”

Sir Richard Sykes talked about the role that organisations like the IBE play in healthcare innovation: “Institutes like this, which see scientists and medics of many different specialisms working side by side, are where the major improvements in patient care and quality of life are being made.”

Smith & Nephew wins manufacturing award

THE ADVANCED WOUND MANAGEMENT DIVISION of Smith & Nephew has won the Manufacturer of the Year 2007 award, together with three other awards, presented at an awards ceremony in Coventry.

As well as the overall Manufacturer of the Year award, the winner of which is selected by the judges from the companies short-listed in all award categories, the Advanced Wound Management business also won the awards for World Class Manufacturing, Manufacturing Operations and Skills and Productivity.

The awards are given by The Manufacturer magazine to recognise world-class achievement in British manufacturing. The ceremony was hosted by Rupert Pennant-Rea, a celebrated economist, banker and businessman. The judging panel included representatives from industry, academia and journalism. Paul Adams, Senior Vice-President of Global Operations at Smith & Nephew, said: “These awards are testimony to the fact that we have now reached world-class benchmark standards in manufacturing.”

Smith & Nephew AWM team Noel Waters, former Operations Director for the Advanced Wound Management division’s Hull site, said: “Winning this award stands as testament to and recognition at a national level of the transformation of our operations to world-class standards. I take enormous pride in what the workforce of the Hull plant have achieved.”

Exubera: the last gasp

Bespak inhaler PFIZER’S DECISION to drop its inhaled dry powder form of insulin, Exubera, has impacted on the medtech companies that supply its drug delivery technology. Consort Medical (formerly known as Bespak) and its component supplier Clamason are both affected by the discontinuation of the inhaled drug.

Exubera was described by Pfizer as “a major medical breakthrough” in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and predicted to generate annual sales of more than $1.5 billion by 2010. However, dosing and side-effect problems affected the drug’s sales, and NICE’s decision not to grant Exubera a licence kept it from finding a UK market. In October, Pfizer announced it would cease production of the drug.

Consort Medical of Milton Keynes, which makes the inhaler (under its Bespak brand) for Exubera, has said it will lose £2 million as a result of this decision. Another medtech company affected is Clamason Industries Ltd of Kingswinford, which manufactures five precision components for the inhaler.

While Consort Medical remains a leading supplier of drug inhalers, this episode reflects the vulnerability of drug delivery technologies in a highly competitive pharmaceutical market.

Darzi report focuses on innovation

Lord Darzi A NEW HEALTH INNOVATION COUNCIL to accelerate the introduction of new medical technologies has been announced by Health Minister Lord Ara Darzi.

Lord Darzi, a practising surgeon, places strong emphasis on medtech innovation in his interim report on the forthcoming NHS review.

The new Health Innovation Council, to be chaired by Lord Darzi and drawn from the NHS, industry and academia, will tackle the variable uptake of innovation in the NHS and drive forward the cost-effective implementation of new medical technologies. Lord Darzi also promised a review of the NHS Connecting for Health programme of IT modernisation to ensure that it “delivers real clinical benefits”. This represents a step forward from the DH’s former resistance to calls for a review of the troubled programme.

The new Health Innovation Council, Lord Darzi said, will act as “the overarching guardian for innovation from discovery through to adoption, holding the Department of Health and the NHS to account for taking up innovation and helping overcome barriers to doing so.” John Wilkinson, Director General of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI), applauded these proposals: “The ABHI welcomes Lord Darzi’s recognition of the reluctance of the NHS to adopt new technologies, and his announcement of the establishment of a new Health Innovation Council to address this problem.

“The Association looks forward to learning more about how the medical technology industry in the UK can contribute to Lord Darzi’s continuing review, and participating in the work of the Health Innovation Council.”

Mobilis Group acquires Premier Sports Medicals Ltd finalist

THE MOBILIS GROUP OF HEALTHCARE companies has strengthened its position within the sports healthcare sector with the acquisition of Premier Sports Medicals Ltd. Premier Sports Medicals (based in North London) has worked with leading football and rugby teams, supplying products and expert advice. Mobilis (based in Oldham) is a wide-ranging healthcare group with successful brands in the fields of physiotherapy, podiatry and orthotics, including Vulkan, Sorbothane and Neen.

Steve Simbler, MD of Premier, said: “We are very excited about working with Mobilis and the opportunity to develop our offer and increase our product portfolio. Our aim is for both companies to continue to offer the same high levels of service our customers expect, but with the added value of our combined skills, range and knowledge.”

Colin Webb, CEO of Mobilis, said: “This new partnership with Premier will bring genuine expertise to the group. Mobilis are looking forward to developing this expertise to benefit our valuable, professional customer base.”

For more information, visit www.mobilishealthcare.com.

NHS budget to rise by £20 billion

AN INCREASE IN THE NHS BUDGET from £90bn this year to £110bn by 2010–11 has been announced in the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

The three-year settlement for the DH includes a £100m innovation fund to help the NHS develop and implement new medical technologies. The innovation fund will be controlled by a new Health Innovation Council (see above).

A total of £1.7bn extra funding is being committed to health research – the largest ever such increase. Extensive spending proposals for infection control include £130m to introduce MRSA screening for all patients.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said that this investment would enable the DH to realise the vision of the interim Darzi review. He added that “spreading new technologies and best practice across the NHS could potentially generate net cash-releasing savings of around £500m per year by 2010-11.”

Darling concluded: “Future technological developments need to be grasped to further improve the quality of life people are able to enjoy. After a decade focused on expansion and reform, the levers are now in place to lock in sustained productivity improvements to ensure further advances are delivered with value for money to the taxpayer.”

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Medtech Features

Coming clean

by Admin 1. November 2007 15:54
 

 


Behind the headlines about hospital infections lies a complex and difficult reality. John McConnell considers how the healthcare industry can help the NHS to meet the challenges of infection control.

Modern healthcare faces no greater challenge than healthcareassociated infections (HCAIs). Such infections are estimated to cost the NHS £1 billion each year, while the loss to the UK economy from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections alone has been estimated at £3–11 billion. The Annual Health Check published in October by the Healthcare Commission for England and Wales found that 25% of NHS trusts fail to comply with at least one of the core standards for preventing HCAIs under the statutory Hygiene Code. The Hygiene Code of 2006 provides a unified structure and agenda for controlling HCAIs, and clearly designates trust chief executives as having ultimate responsibility for prevention and control of infection. The code also helps to define the challenges and opportunities for the healthcare industry in helping the NHS to manage HCAIs.

The dirty war

Neither the challenge of HCAIs nor knowledge of effective interventions is new. In the 1840s Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor working in a maternity hospital in Vienna, was able to reduce mortality from puerperal fever from 16% to 3% by insisting that doctors wash their hands in chlorinated lime solution before every physical examination. Subsequently, cleaning, disinfection and antisepsis became the backbone of prevention of HCAIs.

However, due to growing pressure on costs and staffing levels in NHS hospitals, a neglect of cleaning has become prevalent. Other factors that have contributed to the growth of HCAIs include an increasing hospital population of ageing and immunocompromised patients who are more susceptible to infection; greater use of invasive devices such as catheters; and increasing antibiotic resistance in HCAI organisms.

Acute care NHS trusts in England have identified the three greatest microbial threats to hospital patients as Clostridium difficile, norovirus and MRSA. A survey of English hospitals in 2006 found that 8.2% of in-patients had an HCAI, compared with 9.2% in 1980. But while HCAIs may be slightly less common overall, MRSA and C. difficile infections in the UK have risen substantially in recent years.

In 1990 just 1.7% of S. aureus bacteraemias in UK hospitals (excluding Scotland) were methicillin-resistant. By 2001 this had risen to 41% in English hospitals. The Government’s target of halving MRSA cases in England by 2008 seems unlikely to be met, with a modest fall in cases from 7700 in 2003–04 (the baseline) to 6378 in 2006–7. The growth in C. difficile infections has been dramatic: from 1172 in England in 1990 to 55,634 among patients over 65 in 2006.

The methods to control HCAIs are well-established: cleaning surfaces, decontaminating equipment, washing or otherwise decontaminating hands, using protective clothing, isolating infected patients, screening and treating colonised patients and staff, and use of antibiotics. The very complexity of the problem lends itself to a wide range of solutions, fighting HCAI on every front.

Hand hygiene

Hospital cleanliness is necessary to prevent transmission of HCAIs, but it is not sufficient. After contact between patient and healthcare worker, micro-organisms are deposited on hand-touch points such as medical equipment. It is essential to clean surfaces to eliminate potential HCAI sources, but current liquid disinfectants may not be adequate. MRSA can be killed by alcohol-based or phenolic disinfectants, but the organism has still been found on surfaces after cleaning.

C. difficile spores can be killed only by chlorine-based disinfectants (e.g. bleach), which are corrosive and cannot be used on stainless steel surfaces. Environmental decontamination with hydrogen peroxide vapour may offer a partial solution, at least for MRSA, but this method is not appropriate for routine daily cleaning.

There is an opportunity for the healthcare industry to develop disinfectants that are effective against all HCAIs and can be used on a wide range of surfaces. A related problem that the industry can help to solve is defining testing standards for environmental surface disinfectants; no such agreed standards exist currently.

Hands are the chief vector of micro-organisms, so hand cleansing is the most important intervention to prevent HCAIs. Alcohol-based hand rubs are effective against most organisms (when used); but C. difficile requires the development of new, more effective cleansing products because its spores are not killed by current hand rubs. Recommendations call for hand-washing with soap and water during C. difficile outbreaks, but hand-washing has a notoriously low compliance rate. Another possible approach is universal gloving for every patient contact, but this method has drawbacks: gloves can be contaminated while being put on, may produce allergic reactions, or may not be changed between patients.

Solutions being developed by the healthcare industry include boxes that dispense gloves cuff-first, avoiding contamination of the glove surface; non-latex and powder-free gloves; and colour-coded gloves to make it obvious when a pair is being used in the wrong area.
Healthcare strikes back
10 ways the healthcare industry is helping the NHS to fight HCAIs:

1. Disinfectants – some specific to particular HCAIs.

2. Alcohol-based hand rubs.

3. Disposable gloves.

4. Masks, gowns, drapes.

5. Disposable devices.

6. Biocide-impregnated devices.

7. Decontamination facilities.

8. Isolation facilities.

9. Diagnostic tests for specific HCAIs.

10. Safety awareness in representative visits.

Equipment and facilities

To prevent transmission of infections, patients must be managed with sterile, disposable devices such as wound dressings, catheters and scalpels. Disposable versions are now available of many items once considered reusable, including thermometers and scissors. More mundane items such as pens and clipboards can act as sources of infection between patients, so there is a case for the industry providing single-use alternatives.

High-value equipment items such as blood-pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and otoscopes have been shown to carry micro-organisms. Where disposable alternatives are not economically viable, ways need to be found of decontaminating these devices between patients. One approach might be to impregnate the devices with biocides such as triclosan and silver – as has already been done with wound dressings. However, overuse of biocides may lead to the emergence of resistant organisms, thus escalating the problem.

Lack of isolation facilities is a key reason why outbreaks of HCAIs are difficult to contain. Ideally, patients should be screened at admission for MRSA or C. difficile, and positive patients nursed separately. However, the availability of isolation facilities is limited by cost. There is a pressing need to develop isolation facilities that can be built cheaply within existing buildings. Rapid diagnostic tests to identify colonised patients are being developed – though how patients identified by these tests will be managed, given the lack of isolation facilities, is unclear.

Working together

In providing solutions to HCAIs, healthcare sales professionals need to ensure that their hospital visits do not add to the problem. The organisms causing HCAIs are increasingly  found in the wider community. People can be harmlessly colonised with organisms such as MRSA, then transmit them to vulnerable patients. Sales representatives who visit many hospitals may inadvertently carry infections between hospitals. Representatives need to consider each hospital’s hygiene regulations, and only visit clinical areas if that is agreed to bethe only option.

With increasing resistance to current antibiotics and a lack of new antibiotics coming onto the market, some HCAIs may become untreatable. Thus hand hygiene, disinfection and isolation will remain the key weapons in the battle against HCAIs. The NHS needs the help of the healthcare industry to make hospital hygiene more effective and to embed it in its culture.

John McConnell John McConnell is Editor of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. He can be contacted on 020 7424 4959 or at john.mcconnell@lancet.com

 

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Medtech Features

Redundancy: nightmare or opportunity?

by Admin 1. October 2007 18:06
 

 

Redundancy:

nightmare or opportunity?

Have you ever dreamt of an HR manager handing you a P45, and woken up afraid to look behind you in case you saw your career? Ian Sandison of Remtec explains why redundancy is not always to be feared.

A meeting is suddenly cancelled. You are called to head office at short notice. “Oh by the way, bring your laptop,” you are told. Out of the blue you are in a solicitor’s office, having a compromise agreement reviewed and thinking of your next career move. It is formally called redundancy. Being released, let go, downsized and right-sized are a few of the other printable terms.

Route P45

I see more and more people going through this as companies struggle to get their ‘go to market’ models right, changing the team size, the products sold and the territory covered. A new product does not go well. A company is taken over, merged or acquired. The funding round was not as successful as it could have been. The investors want out and you can’t raise any other equity. Your face doesn’t fit and the boss wants you out.

These are some of the harsh realities of modern-day business. The medical devices sector is somewhat resistant to these ills: generally it continues to grow, and healthcare systems continue to receive strong investment. But being resistant doesn’t make it immune.

So what’s it all about? Is being made redundant your worst nightmare, or can it be an opportunity? What I’ve learned from a number of former colleagues and from my own experience – yes, I’ve been there too – proves that it can be both.

Know your rights

The main legislation points concerning redundancy can be found on the websites listed below, as can advice on statutory payments, relevant taxes and compromise agreements.

People are not actually made redundant! It is the role that is made redundant. An employer has to enter a period of consultation with an employee, during which they should seek to offer suitable alternative employment.

You have the right to a redundancy payment if you’re an employee who has worked continuously for an employer for at least two years. There may be an arrangement in your contract for redundancy pay. However, if this gives you less than the statutory amount, the latter applies. The first £30,000 of any termination payment (including redundancy pay, notice pay etc) is normally tax-free.

One often hears employees who have been made redundant claiming to have been poorly treated: “I gave them all those years, and all I got was three months’ money.” In fact, most employers give more than they are legally required to. If you are 35 with 10 years’ service, the statutory payment required by your employer is 10 weeks’ pay capped at a maximum of £310 per week: a total of £3,100. That’s about a month’s salary and bonus for many medical device sales people.

Don’t rock the boat

Most companies, of course, wish redundancy to be as painless as possible. They are concerned about negative ‘noise’ in the marketplace. If they are savvy, they will come to a sensible compromise with their staff.

A compromise agreement is often used in redundancy where the reasoning behind the decision to release an employee is not clearly defined and may be contentious. It is a single agreement setting out the financial and all other terms on which the employment relationship will end.

In order for a compromise agreement to be valid, certain formalities must be fulfilled. The employee is then unable subsequently to make a claim in the courts or an employment tribunal. Compromise agreements often reward the employee for ‘going quietly’.

Why me?

Redundancy is generally a shock: we never think it will happen to us. You can initially be very angry and upset. But the truth is, it is not your fault. Redundancy happens to all employee types, and high achievers are not immune.

It is crucial to take the emotion out of the situation quickly, and move positively into managing the consequences. Our jobs often define who we are, socially as well as professionally. With our status and perceived worth threatened, it is useful to take a step back and consolidate.

A key thing to consider is ‘understanding yourself’. One way of doing this better is to take a day away from everything: colleagues, friends and partner. Then ask yourself these questions:

• Where do my job and career fit into what I want?
• Where do my job and career fit into my life?
• What is my value function?

Looking forward

When you have answered these questions, you have to start deciding what you are looking for.

Being out of work does not mean you have suddenly lost your skills and abilities: you simply have different objectives and tasks to apply them to. It is important to keep busy and set yourself goals, not just for finding a new role but for keeping fit, seeing friends and family, taking a break.

Many people think that if they are out of work they should not have any fun. There needs to be a sensible balance. If you have enough money to live on for a few months, you can do things you always wanted to do but never had the time. You may discover a different side to yourself.

Redundancy is generally a shock: we never think it will happen to us. It is crucial to take the emotion out of the situation quickly, and move positively into managing the consequences.

Of course the loss of job, status, car and earnings can have a devastating effect on you and your family. Keeping active is key. Continue to meet with ex-colleagues or other key stakeholders in your marketplace (such as recruiters and training companies). Make sure you take these meetings seriously: you prepare, you wear a suit, you maintain the good habits that brought you success.

It is easy to feel guilty about not working. If you know and understand what you are really looking for and you are actively seeking it, taking some time out for yourself is a healthy release.

Priorities and realities

When I spoke to a number of people who had gone through redundancy, almost all of them were in agreement about some key priorities:

• Negotiate the best settlement, seek legal advice.
• Update your CV.
• Contact trusted recruiters.
• Mind map all the contacts you have worked with in the past, noting their details, your working relationship and how well you know them.
• Call the contacts with whom you would work again and see whether they can assist your job search.
• Use the support structure of family and friends.

In today’s constantly shifting employment market, we all need to be sure we are flexible and open to change. You never know when redundancy may strike. Keep these realities firmly in mind:

• Once the decision is made, accept it and look forward.
• It will be tough at times.
• You will not necessarily get the first job you go for.
• You will learn from the experience.


Ian Sandison is a Director of Remtec Search and Selection as well as an independent medical device consultant. He spent many years in medical device sales and marketing. For more information, visit www.remtec.co.uk and www.pandiassociates.co.uk.






Useful websites
www.direct.gov.uk
www.cipd.co.uk
www.hmrc.gov.uk/guidance/redundancy-factsheet.pdf
www.dti.gov.uk/employment

 

Tags:

Medtech Features

Telecare 2007: Caring from a distance

by Admin 1. October 2007 18:04
 

 

Telecare 2007: Caring from a distance

On Target reviews an event that brought together providers and purchasers in the revolutionary field of electronic healthcare.

On Target reviews an event that brought together providers and purchasers in the revolutionary field of electronic healthcare. There was nothing remote about the Telecare 2007 event ‘Caring at a distance’ at the Lakeside Conference Centre in Birmingham on the 26th September. This busy one-day conference linked the telecare and telehealth strands of electronic healthcare, and featured guest speakers and case histories from the NHS and the medtech industry as well as a supporting exhibition.

Closer to home

Over 100 visitors from healthcare and social care organisations enjoyed a packed programme of audio-visual presentations on the development of telehealth and telecare solutions in the UK. A recurrent theme was the power of electronic healthcare to make personalised care in the community an effective and affordable reality. As a number of speakers observed, this cannot be achieved through new technology alone: it requires a fundamental shift in the healthcare paradigm within and beyond the NHS.

Topics covered included: the future of telehealth; telecare for carers and tenants in supported housing; telecare developments in Wales and Scotland; a project to integrate telehealth and telecare in London; using telehealth services to enhance primary care; telecare in the treatment of dementia; and the infrastructure of European telehealth.

A clear theme that emerged was that electronic healthcare offers a crucial shift from the ‘fire-fighting’ of diagnostic and emergency care to a socially integrated and patient-centred system of preventative care and monitoring. The value of this for the current NHS agenda of ‘healthcare closer to home’ and a ‘patient-led health service’ is clear, and a wealth of statistics and case histories demonstrated the financial and clinical benefits of telehealth and telecare solutions in helping to keep patients out of hospital. Nor was keeping patients at home seen as the ultimate goal: case after case illustrated that home monitoring enables elderly and disabled patients to enjoy more activity and independence.

On a day of dramatic quotes, perhaps the most touching came from an elderly patient whose formerly severe breathing problems had improved through home monitoring with a console costing just £550: “I’m not frightened any more. I don’t have panic attacks any more. I feel easy.”

Tags:

Medtech Features

News Companies & careers

by Admin 1. October 2007 18:02
 







Board changes at Lombard Medical OTD

Simon Neathercoat MEDICAL DEVICE COMPANY LOMBARD MEDICAL Technologies PLC has a new Chairman and two new Directors.

Alistair Taylor has resigned as Chairman of the company, and has been replaced by Simon Neathercoat as non-executive Chairman. Tim Cook and Craig Rennie are new non-executive Directors.

Alistair Taylor was appointed as Executive Chairman of Lombard Medical in 2003. As Chairman he was instrumental in launching the company’s lead endovascular stent graft Aorfix™ in Europe.

Simon Neathercoat is currently senior independent non-executive Director of Derwent London PLC. He was previously at Hutchison 3G UK Holdings Ltd and Highbury House Communications PLC, and is a qualified chartered accountant. Dr Timothy Cook has long experience of managing and financing growth companies. He is currently a non-executive Director of Oxford Gene Technology and Chairman of the South Yorkshire Investment Seed Fund.

Craig Robert Rennie was Chairman, CEO and major shareholder of Penn Pharmaceutical Services Ltd. He also spent 18 years with Wellcome PLC in a number of senior international roles.

Michael Stevens, senior independent non-executive Director of Lombard Medical, said: “These new appointments at Lombard Medical very substantially strengthen the Company’s Board at a time when the company is making good progress with the development and commercialisation of its lead Aorfix™ endovascular stent graft product.”

Lombard Medical Technologies PLC develops products for the treatment of vascular disease. The company is headquartered in Oxfordshire.

For more details, visit www.lombardmedical.com.

OTD offers revolutionary training model

OTD Directors A NEW COMPANY promises to change the landscape of learning and development in the healthcare industry. OTD believes its introduction will have a similar impact on the market as the contract sales model did in pharma in the 80s and 90s.

Director Andy Beech said: We are set to change learning and development in the industry in a similar way that Innovex changed the way sales teams were put together.”

The company, whose motto is ‘Inspire & Grow’, provides everything from individual bespoke training programs to complete outsourced Learning and Development departments for sales organisations. In line with the industry trend for outsourcing non-core business, OTD offers fully outsourced, world-class training departments.

OTD was formed by combining four businesses that supply learning and development solutions to the healthcare industry. Its Directors are Chris Cummins, Nicky Blackburn, Andy Crotty and Andy Beech.

For more details, visit www.otd.uk.com.

VMC appoints new Account Manager

VMC CONTINUES TO BUILD the strength of its team, and has recruited Ann Stagg as Account Manager.

Ann Stagg Ann brings a wealth of experience to VMC, having been involved in some of the largest team builds in the industry during her time with Halliday Jones/Ventiv and Innovex. Ann will be looking after some of the key new accounts that VMC has recently gained.

For more details, visit www.vacancymgt.com.

STAR Medical is five

Lucy Randle and Tim Webster RECRUITMENT CONSULTANCY STAR MEDICAL has celebrated its fifth birthday. Since its inception in 2002, STAR Medical has increasingly made an impact on the world of medical and healthcare sales recruitment. Founding Directors Lucy Randle and Tim Webster have facilitated the organic growth of their initial team of two to a formidable company of 15. STAR’s strong candidate attraction has been consistently reflected in Pharmaceutical Field’s annual Company Survey. It attributes its continuing success and expansion to the passion and unity of its team, timely and innovative responses to a rapidly changing industry, and total dedication to clients and candidates.

For more details, visit www.starmedical.co.uk.

Three years well spent

Tina Young and Sam Kirkham HEALTHCARE SALES SPECIALIST RECRUITMENT company Kirkham Young has celebrated its third birthday. Kirkham Young’s bespoke recruitment service, offering sales, marketing, clinical and technical support roles in the medical devices and laboratory industry, has seen its team triple in size since 2004.

“We are really lucky with the people we have here,” commented Director Tina Young. “We all enjoy what we do and share the same passion for ensuring we get the right jobs for the right people, whatever their career aspirations. All of us here get along exceptionally well, which makes it all the more worthwhile and coming into work so much more fun!”

Kirkham Young plans to increase its team further to support the ever-expanding client base, offering further support to candidates and clients. For more details, visit www.kirkhamyoung.co.uk.

Olympus UK Ltd on the move

Steve Swanscott DIAGNOSTIC AND HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS provider Olympus UK Ltd has appointed a new General Manager and is moving to new premises in Watford. Alan Trinder, the former General Manager of Olympus Diagnostic Systems in the UK and Ireland and a leading figure in the UK diagnostics sector, has retired after 18 years at Olympus. New General Manager Steve Swanscott joined Olympus in January 2007 as National Sales Manager for Diagnostics Systems, with 20 years’ experience in the IVD industry. Piers Devereux, Managing Director of Olympus UK Ltd, commented: “Alan has done an exceptional job of growing and developing Olympus’ diagnostic business in the UK from its inception to the successful business it represents today.”

Olympus UK Ltd is combining its Consumer and Scientific operations into a single new headquarters in Watford. The move is in response to business growth bringing increased demand for training and demonstration facilities. The company’s Central London and Southall offices are closing.

Graeme Chapman, MD Consumer, said: “This is an opportunity to bring the two areas of the business closer together and benefit from a better working environment and greatly improved facilities for our customers.” For more details, visit

www.olympusosyris.co.uk and www.olympus.co.uk/diagnostics.

New website moves Advance forward

Steve Swanscott HEALTHCARE RECRUITMENT COMPANY Advance Recruitment has launched a new website to build on the company’s success over the last decade. The new corporate identity and website reflect Advance’s experience as specialists in medical and healthcare sales, marketing and training.

“We’re delighted with the fresh look to our branding, and a new website that combines dynamic creativity with intelligent, professional usability and information for candidates and companies,” said Nick Langley, MD of Advance. “Our new enhanced web presence makes it even easier for candidates and companies to have immediate access to, respectively, the very best jobs and the highestcalibre personnel – in essence what Advance is all about, and why our market share continues to increase.”

For more details, visit www.advancerecruitment.net.

From vision to Blueprint

Lucy Watson HEALTHCARE RECRUITMENT COMPANY Blueprint Medical Recruitment has celebrated its fifth birthday and appointed a new consultant.

Blueprint Medical Recruitment specialises in placing sales, marketing and management personnel in the medical devices, medical equipment and disposables sector.

Director Terry Crystal said: “Blueprint Medical Recruitment has established its place in the healthcare recruitment industry by listening to clients’ needs and working with them to increase their business. Blueprint Medical Recruitment Ltd has appointed a new consultant, Lucy Watson. Lucy joined Blueprint in July, and will be meeting more clients and candidates at the AfPP 2007 Congress in Harrogate.

Blueprint will give away a prize at this year’s AfPP Congress to celebrate its fifth anniversary. Anyone can enter by completing a simple questionnaire. All correct questionnaires will be placed in a draw and the winner, drawn on 11 October, will win a ‘Trip in a Hot Air Balloon’ anywhere in the UK.

Visit www.blueprintmr.co.uk for more details.

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Medtech Features

Interview with a Podiatrist

by Admin 1. October 2007 18:00
 

 

The Other Side 14:

Interview with a Podiatrist

Neil Baker is Research Diabetes Specialist and Research Podiatrist at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust. On Target talked to him about purchasing in this increasingly important specialist area of healthcare.

1. As a specialist in diabetic foot care, what purchasing decisions are you involved in making?

A wide range of products and services can be purchased to facilitate the optimal care of those with diabetic foot problems. One of the responsibilities of a clinical manager is to make careful decisions regarding the purchase of equipment, consumables and services used to care for the high-risk foot in diabetes. Two areas where decisions have to be made regarding appropriate purchasing (excluding staffing) are wound care products and surgical appliances.

There are a myriad of different wound care products on the market, which can make deciding between products A and B very confusing. There is very little robust scientific data that would suggest that one dressing is better than another, so unit costs and treatment costs play a large role in decision making.

Diabetic foot ulcers require very frequent redressing to monitor for infection and deal with exudate absorption problems, so choosing a dressing that has a high unit cost or is not widely available (i.e. to both primary and secondary care settings) would be wasteful.

Therefore, unless a specific feature is required from a dressing (e.g. eschar rehydration), a simple non-adherent low unit cost dressing that can be changed frequently is an obvious choice. Neil Baker Purchasing surgical appliances is more complex, as one is purchasing not only a product but also a professional service. Additionally, factors such as patient compliance with prescribed footwear are a difficult area. Spending several hundred pounds on a pair of shoes that are never worn because they do not look like ‘high street’ shoes is a pitiful waste of resources. When purchasing both products and services, ensuring that all patients have a choice of styles, colour and leather types helps to reduce this issue.

We have chosen to use a single company that has a shoe fitter attending our clinic, for several reasons. Firstly, the company specialises in diabetic footwear and so is used to accommodating not only patients’ feet, but also some of the common compliance issues. They have a working understanding of diabetic foot problems and the disasters that can arise through poorly prescribed or fitted footwear. Secondly, there is a direct link between the clinic and the factory floor via the company’s visiting shoe fitter, so any fitting problems etc can be dealt with very swiftly. Thirdly, developing a working relationship with one specialist supplier allows for unique patient requirements, and for product developments to be undertaken effectively.

2. What aspects of sales meetings do you find helpful? What aspects do you find unhelpful?

The facets of sales meetings that I find useful are learning of any new developments in products or new ways of purchasing etc.

Unhelpful facets relate to covering the same Neil Baker old ground or sales pitch. Obviously any new research on a product is useful; however, case studies – especially relating to wound care products – I find frustrating and not particularly helpful, as these are often passed off as research when they are not.

3. How are current changes in hospital practice affecting what you purchase and how you purchase it?

The biggest changes at present are the shift of services from secondary to primary care and changes in service level agreements. The net result of these is that budgets are being held to more account, with a ‘no overspend’ policy being strictly adhered to.

Factors such as patient compliance with prescribed footwear are a difficult area. Spending several hundred pounds on a pair of shoes that are never worn because they do not look like ‘high street’ shoes is a pitiful waste of resources.

Thus rationalisation of what and how much is being purchased is coming more and more to the forefront. So, for example, the idea that the hospital will pay for ‘shoes for life’ for those who require specialist shoes is being looked at closely, which may mean that in the near future GPs may have to pay for prescribed orthoses including shoes, or even provide orthotic services themselves.

Traditionally, this service provision and the revenue costs have been provided by the acute hospital trusts.

4. How are current changes in hospital practice affecting what you purchase and how you purchase it?

There is a distinct possibility that diabetic foot ulceration may be managed in community settings in the future, rather than in hospital-based clinics. This could only be effective if there were a clearly-defined infrastructure in place, with professionals who have the necessary competencies, expertise and experience. Additionally, there would need to be a fast-track system for urgent admission of patients with infected or ischaemic feet, and the facility to follow patient care through onto the wards. At present, I do not think this is achievable without significant investment. If the change happens without such investment, amputations will increase and patient care will be compromised.

The role of consultant allied healthcare professionals, especially podiatrists, is likely to grow in the next decade. Also, foot care protection teams dedicated to the diabetic foot are likely to become established and hopefully commonplace in primary care.

 

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Medtech Features

News Products

by Admin 1. October 2007 17:54
 







From start to heart in 6m

MHM 100 heart monitor A NEW CONSUMER HEART MONITOR has been brought to market by a UK company in only six months, including tests and approvals.

The MHM 100 personal ECG heart monitor from Medick Healthcare, based in Milton Keynes, was developed in partnership with Industrial Design Consultancy in Datchet. This success demonstrates how small companies can use expertise to make a rapid impact on the e-health market.

The MHM 100 is a miniaturised and user-friendly ECG machine for patients with a personal or family history of heart disease. “The brief was to turn the available technology into a product suitable for consumers – assumed to be aged 50-plus and technically aware,” said Stephen Knowles, Managing Director of IDC.

The MHM 100 recognises and records any unusual traces. The user can also press an ‘event’ button on the device to make it record traces immediately prior to and following chest pain or shortness of breath. At the end of the day, the data can be uploaded to a website and an expert report sent back within 24 hours. “We created the design concept and managed the whole process, including drop tests, trials, obtaining CE marking, samples and all tooling,” said Knowles. The combination of engineering, industrial styling and prototyping in one place made it possible to launch the product within six months.

For more information, visit www.medick.com and www.idc.uk.com.

New insulin pen for children

ELI LILLY HAS LAUNCHED THE HUMAPEN LUXURA™ HD in the UK: an insulin pen designed for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Designed to combine precision with ease of use, the HumaPen Luxura HD allows dosage to be adjusted forward or backward in half-unit increments on a dial. Setting errors can be corrected without wastage. The pen is for use with Lilly 3ml insulin cartridges.

More than 20,000 children in the UK have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. To provide support to children and their families or carers, a pack of educational materials and accessories featuring the cartoon character Hu-Mee the Frog is supplied with the HumaPen Luxura HD – including child booklet, lunchbox, insulin pen case, monitoring diary and Hu-Mee stickers.

Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services, Diabetes UK, commented: “For a child with Type 1 diabetes, their journey with the condition can feel overwhelming and difficult to manage. We welcome the development of any medicines or supporting materials that can make this passage a little easier for them and their families.”

For more information, visit www.lilly.com.

HumaPen case

World’s smallest ultrasound device

Acuson P10 SIEMENS MEDICAL SYSTEMS has launched a hand-held ultrasound device for initial diagnosis in emergency situations.

The Acuson P10 could transform emergency care. It provides immediate information to healthcare providers at the earliest patient intervention points, such as ambulances and medical helicopters, making decisions possible within minutes.

The P10 is a hand-held device for initial screening and triage. Hardly larger than a Blackberry, it weighs just over 700g. Its emergency applications include FAST (Focused Abdominal Sonography for Trauma), a means of assessing internal damage in the abdominal cavity. “Instead of having to rush the patient to the technology, the P10 brings the technology to the patient, which can reduce critical minutes – particularly when a patient is in cardiac distress or with trauma patients who have multiple injuries,” said Klaus Hambuechen, Head of Siemens’ Ultrasound Division. “The flexibility and portability of the P10 mark significant changes in the way diagnostic and emergency care are administered.”

The P10 also has applications in obstetrics. It can be used during labour and delivery to assess foetal viability, foetal positioning and bleeding. The system is equipped with a black-and-white monitor and a flip-up LCD display. The user interface can be navigated using the thumbs. The lithium ion batteries allow roughly an hour of scanning without recharging.

For more information, visit http://www.medical.siemens.com.

Kimal wins three-year NHS contract

Kimal cardiology pack UK MEDICAL DEVICE COMPANY KIMAL PLC has secured an exclusive three-year deal to produce bespoke cardiology procedure packs for the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Kimal PLC, a specialist in cardiology, radiology, renal and access products, has won the new contract – worth more than £150,000 – in a highly competitive tender. The contract is the culmination of months of planning, supported by regional healthcare industry network Medilink West Midlands.

Kimal’s Corporate Business Manager Hamish Macdonald said: “This is a great achievement and a real step forward for the company. By being really proactive throughout the tender process, we were able to demonstrate our dedication to customer service, focus and level of expertise.

“The ability to obtain up to date ‘live’ information about all OJEU adverts is extremely important, and we are indebted to MedilinkWM for providing us with the advance notification of this tender. Without the help of its dedicated team, this deal would not have been possible.

“As the UK’s major specialist provider of procedural solutions, we know how vital it is that we get the job right, first time. I’m sure that’s what really stood out during our tender and helped us secure the contract. We always make sure that all the stakeholders within the NHS Trust are informed and consulted from the start.” For more information, visit www.kimal.co.uk and www.medilinkwm.co.uk.

Electrical device heals persistent wounds

DOES TIME HEAL ALL WOUNDS? A new ‘smart’ skin patch device from a UK wound care specialist may change the answer.

Before
Hampshire-based medtech company Biosifica has developed and launched Posifect®, a pioneering device that restores the natural electrical signals essential to wound healing.

Posifect offers a breakthrough in treatment to sufferers from non-healing wounds, which affect thousands of elderly and diabetic patients in the UK. The cost of managing such wounds represents 4% of the entire NHS budget, and in many cases the treatment given fails to heal the wound.

The Posifect skin patch produces small bio-electric currents around the wound site that mimic natural currents. These currents are weak or absent in non-healing wounds. Posifect users have reported significant improvements just days after the first application, which has meant alleviation of severe pain.

After One such patient is Dennis O’Kelly, 66, from Weston-Super- Mare. Mr O’Kelly suffered for 18 months with a persistent wound caused by an injury. Within a 7-week course of treatment with Posifect, the wound shrank in size by more than 90% and now looks set to heal completely (see photos above and right).

Posifect is currently being used across the country by NHS practitioners, as well as being available privately.

For more information, visit www.biofiscia.com.

Maquet puts new options on table

A NEW HEAVY-DUTY OPERATING TABLE from Maquet increases the range of options available for surgeons, anaesthetists and their patients.

The Gynaemaxx table can be purchased as new or retrofitted to existing Alphamaxx tables. It is particularly useful for patients in the lithotomy or Lloyd Davies position as it enables the surgeon and the anaesthetist to work with the patient at the same time, without any need to slide the patient down the table.

Gynaemaxx table Gynaemaxx can withstand extreme loads (up to 450kg), while its 80mm padding enhances patient comfort. It can be used together with lithotomy poles, Lloyd Davies Stirrups, direct placement stirrups or integral Maquetmatics. With its back section in place, it can be used for all types of surgery.

The demand for heavy-duty operating tables is growing, and the Gynaemaxx extends the range of available solutions. Maquet is the world’s largest manufacturer of operating tables. Its UK operation is based in Tyne & Wear. For more details, visit www.maquet.com.

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