Patients will be diagnosed using the latest radiology equipment as part of a bid to improve diagnosis under new plans unveiled by a Lancashire hospital trust.
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has announced it will take expressions of interest from public and private providers to lease the most advanced technology, such as CT, MRI, X-ray and imaging equipment.
The move is designed to improve diagnosis for patients with better imaging and reduce the multi-million pound cost of buying new equipment.
Jackie Daniel, chief executive of the Trust, says: “Under this plan, the equipment would be replaced regularly to ensure it is always up to date, providing cutting-edge technology for our patients. Instead of spending millions of pounds on new pieces of equipment, the Trust would lease equipment at a fixed cost each month.”
She said the scheme would mirror a managed service contract that was successfully introduced in the pathology department three years ago.
The contract is working well to provide the equipment needed to deliver pathology tests within all areas of the pathology service.
“This is not a move to privatise, sell-off or outsource the service and I would like to reassure staff that there will be no jobs affected by the proposals. It is purely concerned with the way the equipment is supplied.”
Linda Womack, Allied Health Professional Lead, said having access to new equipment will benefit patients and staff because it will aid the clarity of the image and improve diagnosis.
She said: “Not only will this investment help our clinicians to improve diagnosis for our patients, it will also help the service become more attractive to prospective employees, letting them know that they will always be using the latest and best equipment in the business if they join us.”The contract would also include support for maintenance and repairs and ensure the Trust can meet national regulations for X-ray equipment.
The Trust will now test the market by placing an advert in the European Journal asking for expressions of interest from public or private providers to ensure the scheme is affordable before progressing.
It would then invite potential suppliers to tender for the project, if they met specific criteria and standards. A supplier would be appointed based on the feedback it received in public at a Trust Board meeting.
It is envisaged that the Trust will identify a potential partner to help deal with planned and unplanned increases in activity. This may mean increasing the amount of mobile equipment in the short-term or securing support with a specific task, such as reporting, which is a service currently partly managed by the use of external suppliers.