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DH invests £31m in testing e-health

  A MASSIVE DH INITIATIVE to test the effectiveness of telehealth and telecare with 6000 patients is under way, backed by funding of £31m.

The Whole System Demonstrator Programme is being rolled out across Kent, Cornwall and Newham to test the potential of e-health technologies for supporting those with complex health and social care needs.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson commented: “Improving care with new scientific advances and innovation is vital if the NHS is to continue to offer the very best services, but this innovation must be at the frontline of the NHS to help people manage their conditions better themselves.”

The pilot scheme will make e-health facilities such as remote monitoring and automated safety devices available to patient groups including the elderly and frail and sufferers from diabetes, heart failure and COPD. The demonstrators will run for a minimum of two years, addressing the needs of 6000 patients (2000 in each site) – the biggest such project undertaken to date in England.

The scheme is expected to deliver a reduction in emergency admissions, use of the acute hospital sector and dependence on care home settings. A Green Paper on the future of care and support services is planned in 2009.

Endoscopy firm widens its scope

THE UK OPERATION OF ENDOSCOPY DEVICE SPECIALIST KARL STORZ has expanded its occupancy at Slough Trading Estate.

Karl Storz has taken further space on the trading estate for additional storage and archiving following recent corporate expansion, due in part to a new £120,000 contract to supply its Endoscopic Airway Kit to Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

Neil Impiazzi, Inward Investment Manager at Slough Trading Estate, commented: “Probably the most important aspect of what we do at Slough Trading Estate is working with our occupiers to fulfil their changing property requirements as their businesses grow and develop. We have always believed that creating a supportive business environment can play a pivotal role in a company’s future growth and success, and so we are all the more delighted to be working with Karl Storz as it goes from strength to strength.”

Slough Trading Estate is the largest business centre of its kind in Europe under single private ownership. Some of the world’s most successful companies operate there, including Ferrari, Fiat Auto (UK) Limited and Black & Decker.

Headquartered in Germany, Karl Storz develops, sells and distributes specialist medical equipment. It has offices throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America and Africa.

Scottish eye laser inventor wins European award

THE SCOTTISH INVENTOR OF A LASER SCANNER for the eye is among four innovators honoured with the European Inventor of the Year 2008 Award.

The awards, selected by an international jury, went to leading inventors from the UK, Belgium, Germany and the USA. They were presented at a ceremony in Ljubljana by Slovenian President Danilo Türk, European Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen and President of the European Patent Office (EPO) Alison Brimelow.

The European Inventor of the Year Award, jointly instituted by the European Commission and the EPO, recognises inventors who have made a significant and lasting contribution to technical progress and helped to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness.

The prizes were awarded in four categories: industry, SMEs/research institutes, non-European countries and lifetime achievement.

Douglas Anderson, a Scottish inventor and the winner in the SME category, has pioneered a powerful but pain-free eye laser treatment. In 1992, Anderson’s son, then five years old, went blind in one eye when a retinal detachment was detected too late. Anderson set out to develop a system that could give a complete and detailed wide-scan image of the retina. More than 13 million patients have since benefited from the non-invasive optical laser scans developed by Anderson’s team.

Digital Healthcare wins NHS Framework contract

DIGITAL IMAGING SPECIALIST DIGITAL HEALTHCARE has been appointed by NHS Connecting for Health to the NHS Additional Supply Capability & Capacity (ASCC) Framework, following open competition bids.

Digital Healthcare will supply the NHS with clinical IT services within the ASCC Framework, which is designed to supplement the existing supply capacity, enable new requirements to be met and mitigate risks of existing suppliers being unable to meet contractual commitments. The new contract does not replace or conflict with any existing contracts.

Cambridge-based company Digital Healthcare is a producer of specialised digital imaging software and electronic patient care management systems for the healthcare market. It is the leading supplier of ophthalmic and diabetic retinopathy screening solutions to the NHS.

Digital Healthcare’s software is designed to comply with NHS standards for the secure electronic transmission of data. It provides automatic surveillance for patients at risk, with electronic referral to clinical experts when symptoms appear.

Managing Director Martin Procter said: “Digital Healthcare’s software is already used to screen for eye disease for over a million UK patients with diabetes. This is an opportunity for all parts of the NHS to utilise our groundbreaking technology to improve patient care.”

Marathon man runs 117 miles on Össur limbs

A BILATERAL AMPUTEE has run four marathons over a six-week period, using state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs from Össur.

Nottinghamshire athlete Richard Whitehead achieved successive personal bests of 3hrs 54m (Kilimanjaro), 3hrs 39m (Rome), 3hrs 36m (Georgia) and finally 3hrs 22m at the London Marathon. He raised a total of £1,369.93 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

A full-time Disability Sports Performance Pathways Coach for Nottinghamshire County Council, Richard receives sponsorship from prosthetics manufacturer Össur. “Össur’s technology enables me to reach new heights in fitness and performance,” he said. “The special-designed Flex-Run® prosthetic limbs help me to run more naturally and use my fitness to best effect. I could not even dream about a global four-race programme like this without them.

“Running with 80,000 other runners and watched by thousands more cheering supporters is an immense privilege. All these races have changed how I feel about running and my responsibilities as a role model to amputees and runners across the globe!”

Another amputee who successfully completed this year’s London Marathon is Andrew Palmer, a Prosthetic Engineer from Cardiff DSC and a left below knee amputee. He finished in 3hrs 23 minutes, raising £2,132.50 for the Limbless Association.

Lord Darzi gives high five to NHS

  HEALTH MINISTER AND SURGEON LORD DARZI has issued five pledges on how the NHS will handle changes to services.

Lord Darzi’s report ‘Leading Local Change’ sets out a process requiring changes to be transparent, clinically evidenced, locally led and for the benefit of patients.

The new report, aimed at the public, patients and NHS staff, outlines the checks that any change has to undergo before it proceeds. PCTs will need to observe five pledges:
1. Change will be to the benefit of patients, i.e. it will improve the quality of care.
2. Change will be clinically driven, i.e. led by clinicians and based on clinical evidence.
3. Change will be locally led – “different places have different and changing needs”.
4. Patients (and other stakeholders) will be involved. “NHS organisations will work openly and collaboratively.”
5. Patients will see the difference first.

Existing services will not be withdrawn until new and better services are available.

Lord Darzi said that the focus of his final report on the next stage of NHS reform (expected this month) will be “how we can enable local clinicians and patients to be the driving force of improvement and change in the NHS”.

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