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DH gives green light to ISTCs

  THREE MORE INDEPENDENT SECTOR TREATMENT CENTRE (ISTC) schemes have been approved by the Department of Health.

The new schemes are expected to provide over 1.5 million contracted procedures and outpatient consultations including general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology and diagnostics.

Following a review of Phase 2 of the ISTC programme, two schemes in Greater Manchester and one in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have been approved by the DH and HM Treasury and will go forward to financial close. This brings the current number of Phase 2 schemes to ten.

The DH also confirmed that independent sector provision will in future be procured locally rather than centrally.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “The independent sector is providing NHS patients with fast access to high-quality treatment and diagnostic services, offering greater choice, driving down waiting times and galvanising the NHS to raise its game.

“We are committed to independent sector involvement in the NHS where it meets local needs, offers value for money and benefits local patients. It is right that in future the local NHS will commission independent sector providers, to ensure faster procurement of services that reflect local needs.”

UK medtech companies at CMEF

EIGHT BRITISH MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES exhibited their products in the UK Pavilion at the China International Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF) in Shenzhen.

The exhibitors were Eschmann Equipment, Femcare- Nikomed Ltd, Medisavers, Pro-Lab Diagnostics, SLE Ltd, Swann-Morton Ltd, Water-Jel Europe LLP and the Industrial Design Consultancy.

The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) organised the UK Pavilion at CMEF with the support of UK Trade and Investment.

CMEF is the largest medical devices event in the Asia Pacific region. This year it occupied 100,000 square metres of exhibition space, with 13 national pavilions and over 2,000 exhibitors from 17 countries.

Mark Reed, General Manager of Pro-Lab Diagnostics – Europe, said: “With offices in Canada, the USA and the UK, we are currently seeking to expand our marketplace into China and have chosen CMEF to launch our products, having heard very positive remarks from colleagues within our industry who have done the same.”

CMEF is organised biannually by Reed Sinopharm Exhibitions. Ms. Hu Kun Ping, Vice President of RSE, said: “The diversity of national pavilions featured at this season’s event offers show participants myriad opportunities to trade and network with some of the world’s leading medical device companies.”

Siemens launches Women’s Health team

SIEMENS MEDICAL has launched an Ultrasound and Women’s Health division to provide a one-stop approach to breast imaging solutions in the UK.

The creation of the new dedicated team follows the Government’s announcement that screening for breast cancer will be extended, and reflects the growing importance of mammography and ultrasound in its diagnosis.

“The introduction of new applications and techniques such as elastography, silicon transducers and tomosynthesis has called for detailed and specialist advice in the marketplace,” said Andrew Pattison, Director of Diagnostic Ultrasound & Women’s Health at Siemens.

“Furthermore, with the Government’s commitment to extending screening services for women and greater awareness of symptoms by patients, this sector of the health service is facing increasing pressure. Our team of professionals will deliver a high level of consultancy, working with clinical teams at hospitals to explain how the latest technologies can deliver tangible benefits to improve patient outcomes.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK, and early detection and diagnosis have been proven to increase survival rates.

Siemens has recently launched two new products that will fall into the Women’s Health team remit: the Acuson S2000 ultrasound system and the Mammomat Inspiration, a full-field digital mammography system.

Vascular checks for the over 40s

  A NEW NHS PROGRAMME will offer regular vascular health checks to everyone aged between 40 and 74.

The national vascular check programme, announced in the DH publication Putting Prevention First, is expected to save 2,000 lives every year by reducing the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and kidney disease.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “The case for a national programme of vascular checks is compelling. We could prevent 9,500 heart attacks and strokes every year and save 2,000 lives. It would also reduce the health inequalities that blight the lives of the country’s most deprived families.”

The vascular checks, to be carried out in GP surgeries, pharmacies and other community settings from 2009, will include measurements of blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Each person will receive a personal assessment report.

Anne Mackie, Director of the UK National Screening Committee, said: “The UK National Screening Committee will now work with stakeholders and the public to develop robust implementation plans. We will particularly focus on how we can make this accessible to the whole population and reduce inequalities in vascular health.”

Doris-Ann Williams, Director General of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association (BIVDA), commented: “Prevention is always better than cure – both for the person concerned and the NHS. Targeted diagnostics and screening can be hugely beneficial in proactively assessing people’s health.”

News in Brief

NICE has approved the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices by the NHS to treat sleep-disordered breathing (see article on page 10).

The hospital teams of Ecolab’s Healthcare and Institutional divisions in the UK have joined forces to create a single hospital team, providing a fully comprehensive product range for infection prevention and control.

AngioDynamics has entered into asset purchase agreements with Diomed to acquire certain of its assets – including the purchase for $3m of Diomed’s UK business, which supplies laser systems for the treatment of varicose veins.

Roche Diagnostics has launched the CoaguNation Bus Tour across the UK and Ireland: a free educational project to help long-term warfarin patients use self-testing devices to monitor their own blood coagulation levels at home.

Orthopaedic device specialist Summit Medical has been acquired for £36m by international private equity firm The Riverside Company. The vendor, Graphite Capital, more than tripled its return on investment.

John Gray, an 87-year-old Glasgow man who was partially blinded in the Blitz, has had the sight in his right eye restored by an optic lens transplant 66 years later. The operation followed Gray’s loss of sight in his left eye due to age-related wet AMD.

Government appoints ‘transplant tsar’

  THE DH HAS APPOINTED a new ‘transplant tsar’ responsible for increasing the availability of donor organs for transplantation.

Mr Chris Rudge, Transplant and Managing Director at UK Transplant, has been appointed as National Clinical Director for Transplant. His task is to implement the recommendations made by the Organ Donation Taskforce in order to increase the number of donor organs available by 50% in the next five years.

Mr Rudge said: “I feel privileged to be leading the day-to-day implementation of the Organ Donation Taskforce recommendations. I am confident that we can make a real difference to people’s lives over the next three to five years, and will be working to overcome the barriers to organ donation identified by the Taskforce and deliver the increase in transplants that is so desperately needed.”

UK Transplant is an NHS organisation responsible for matching and allocating donated organs. Consultant transplant surgeon Chris Rudge was appointed UK Transplant’s first Medical Director in 2001.

The Organ Donation Taskforce report, published in January 2008, identified a need to invest in better donor identification, referral and co-ordination and organ retrieval. The Government has committed £11m extra funding in 2008/9 to support these developments.

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