News, News in Brief

News in brief: upgraded catheterisation lab in Birmingham, sight loss e-learning in Shropshire, virtual ward update from Cornwall, and more

What’s been happening in the NHS recently with regards to health tech? Join us as we take a look through some of the health tech stories that have caught our eye.

£2.1m upgrade to catheterisation lab at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s 

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has opened its newly refurbished catheterisation laboratory following a £2.1 million upgrade, with the facility now including equipment which the trust hopes will improve the quality of diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterisation procedures in children and young people with congenital heart disease.

The new equipment allows the integration of electrophysiological studies of the heart and includes features such as enhanced stent visualisation, which allows better oversight of the stent and devices inside the patient.

Consultant paediatric cardiologist Dr Chetan Mehta commented that the new system “has significant advantages” with “the most striking one being reduction in the radiation dose ranging from 25 to 75 per cent to the patient, compared to the previous system. This is essential for children with CHD, who will need such repeated procedures with the cumulative risks of radiation over time. This system also reduces the radiation exposure to members of our team working in the Cath Lab environment.

Chetan added:  “The quality of diagnostic imaging is exceptionally good at ultra-low doses. It has the capability of 3D rotational angiography providing a good 3D image of the heart and its relations to surrounding structures.”

E-learning for staff supporting patients with sight loss in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin

A new e-learning resource for people who engage with individuals with sight loss and who deliver eye care services has been introduced in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, as the result of collaboration between people with lived experience, sight loss experts, and professionals from across the country.

Claire Roberts, local Eye Health Network chair, described how the co-design process involved started conversations with people with sight loss to identify their thoughts on what health and care professionals need to know in order to better support them. It offers two levels of training: the first providing a “basic understanding” of different conditions and their impacts on people’s lives, and the second providing CPD for clinicians and guidance on where people can be signposted for support in their sight loss journey.

Swantje Staar-Slogrove from Sight Loss Shropshire commented: “This training module demonstrates that support for visually impaired people can be uncomplicated and easily accessible. From practical tips to help with technology, mobility or isolation – help is there. Working in partnership to co-create this learning module has strengthened the link across local sight loss organisations and services and reflects the way we work together.”

Update on virtual wards in Cornwall

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has released an update on the progress of its virtual wards programme this winter, sharing that capacity has grown to 212 patients with 1,900 patients treated in the last year.

The trust estimates that this has saved “more than 16,500 inpatient days in hospital”, with chief operating officer and GP Tamsyn Anderson commenting: “From a mobility perspective, there is a real benefit to being in a familiar environment. Our brains work on pattern recognition. They use a lot of tricks to keep us as independent and mobile as possible. These include something as simple as knowing how many steps it is to the toilet or where the sofa is. When you are admitted to hospital, those props are not available to you. These are among the reasons it is better to try and keep people at home as much as we can.”

The trust also shares insight from a user perspective, with a COPD patient stating that she feels that she “got better at home quicker”.

Robotic microscope at London North West University Healthcare 

A robotic microscope has been introduced at London North West University Healthcare’s Northwick Park Hospital, to be used in procedures designed to restore people’s hearing that would traditionally involve surgeons craning their necks to see inside the ear. It is hoped that use of the robotic microscope can improve comfort and potentially increasing the number of operations that surgeons can perform.

The trust shares that an estimated 85 percent of ENT surgeons report musculoskeletal tension from using the microscope for prolonged time.

The robotic microscope “allows us to achieve an ideal view of the surgical field while ensuring that our necks and backs are comfortable throughout,” says consultant Bhav Patel. “This enables us to do more operations in a day.”

Video relay service for hearing-impaired residents struggling with mental health in Derbyshire

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a new video relay service designed to offer support to hearing-impaired Derbyshire residents struggling with mental health. It offers an alternative to the text relay service, meaning residents can now get in touch with BSL interpreters through the Sign Video app or website, who will then connect them with a member of the helpline team.

Eleanor Brett, interim area service manager for Urgent Assessment Services at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, says: “Everyone has to deal with mental health issues, and this is why it is important that we also support those in our Deaf community to access the mental health helpline service without any barriers, as they are such an important and flourishing community within Derbyshire.

“Our team of professionals are working hard to find a way to support all communities, which is why we’re pleased that SignVideo have collaborated with us so closely – so we can jointly help Deaf people to get the support they need, particularly in a crisis. This is a fantastic partnership that will make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

From our last news in brief: a data survey launched in Norfolk, remote monitoring in Bedfordshire, digital fair in the Midlands, and more.