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Medical e-News Round-Up - Issue 39


This issue covers:


Faulty NHS equipment kills 300 people a year

More than 300 patients a year are dying due to faulty NHS equipment, according to an article in the Daily Mail about a report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The report says nearly 5,000 people were left seriously injured last year after using faulty equipment including pacemakers, MRI and CT scanners. In the highest annual total of deaths since records began, 309 patients died last year in ‘adverse incidents’ linked to medical devices.

In total, there were 13,642 incidents relating to faulty equipment reported to health officials. Medics have also been forced to delay life-saving operations because their machines and tools don’t work.

Patients also suffered delays and injuries after issues with incubators, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, syringes and specialist beds.

The report says boosting the number of engineers in hospitals would help cut the number of deaths and injuries, and warns that while technology is leading to huge advances in healthcare, it remains dependent on the work of biomedical engineers to fix and maintain it.

There are concerns that a lack of engineers to maintain equipment might be exacerbating the problem with the report calling for the introduction of a Chief Biomedical Engineer at each NHS trust.

Dr Patrick Finlay, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Government and the NHS need to take urgent action to prioritise the role engineers play in hospitals and trusts.

"Technology is leading to huge advances in healthcare, but this technology is dependent on the work of biomedical engineers who are inadequately recognised and in short supply in most hospitals.

"Clinicians and engineers need to work in partnership to ensure that advances in medical technology are applied in the best interest of patients. The benefits of hospitals having a designated chief biomedical engineer responsible for healthcare technology are clear."

Read in full at www.dailymail.co.uk

Rigel comments: This and other similar reports once again highlight the urgent need for regular testing of health equipment, says John Backes, associate director - Rigel Medical. “There is always a need to ensure devices are regularly checked and tested as people’s lives could be placed at risk by faulty or failing equipment.

“This is the latest report of problems associated with medical devices, so it’s vital they are properly checked and maintained. Testing these medical devices and other items including AEDs is easy, relatively inexpensive yet vital. Owners and operators could benefit by using the latest generation of easy to use, portable and lightweight analysers to quickly and easily verify the safe operation and functionality of equipment.”

This includes the Rigel Medical Uni-Pulse defibrillator analyser, which features advanced measurement technology, the battery powered analyser offers both manual and automatic test programs for the safe testing of all mono-phasic, bi-phasic and pulsed waveform defibrillators and AEDs.


Republican knives out for Obama's medical devices tax

News agency Reuters reports that republicans in the U.S. Congress will move to avoid a medical device tax imposed less than two years ago under President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

The 2.3% excise tax on sales of most medical devices sold in the United States helps fund the law, known as Obamacare, and applies to products ranging from bedpans to heart pacemakers. It took effect in January 2013 and is projected to raise about $30 billion a year in government revenue over 10 years.

Though no full-scale repeal of Obamacare is expected, even with the Senate now under Republican control, the move against the tax is part of efforts to gradually chip away at the law.

The recent mid-term elections will elevate Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, a long-standing opponent of the tax, to the chairmanship of the tax-writing finance committee in the Senate.

"The senator will continue to examine and support every viable opportunity to permanently repeal Obamacare’s onerous tax on medical devices," said his spokeswoman Julia Lawless.

In 2013, the Senate approved a symbolic resolution calling for repeal of the tax, with more than 30 Democrats joining Republicans in support of the non-binding measure.

Opposition to the tax is also widespread in the House of Representatives, so there is a strong chance it could be repealed. Republicans held the majority there even before the elections and voted on 50 occasions to repeal all or part of Obamacare. More at www.reuters.com


Video star

The Rigel 288 has become one of the most recognised electrical safety analysers on the market today. Its unique, earth bond technology and use of internal memory make it a truly valuable tool for every biomedical test professional.

Now, in a move to boost the support and service Rigel provides to customers, a new online video has been produced explaining more about the benefits of this highly versatile analyser and demonstrates how biomed engineers can take advantage of the product for comprehensive, high performance in-service testing. Watch in full at www.rigelmedical.com/288


Tap into £1m of R&D funding

Companies in Wales with a medical project it feels is risky, can now bid for funding to research and develop the project


Risky projects may be difficult for companies to take forward and develop - Innovate UK is looking to help these projects, where the majority of the project activities take place in and around the South Wales medical technology cluster.

Up to £1 million is on offer through our new Launchpad competition, along with a programme of business support. We'll also help applicants raise more external finance to help fund and commercialise the project.

Medical technology is one of Wales' major industrial strengths. There are around 300 life science businesses in the country, including rapidly growing small businesses. Many of these are in South Wales.

The aim of the Launchpad is to help companies clustered there to go further and faster towards commercial success. We want to draw investment and people into the area and to encourage networking and collaboration.

The competition is now open with the deadline for stage 1 video submissions/applications on midday on 10 December 2014. More at https://ts.catapult.org.uk


Rigel analyser leads the way in dialysis machine testing in Japan

Nikkiso Co Ltd, the leading manufacturer of dialysis machines and related devices in Japan, is using the Rigel Medical 288 automated safety analyser to improve biomed electrical safety testing.

The move has led to improvements in testing procedures as part of an in-service annual safety check programme for its machines installed at hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the country.

The portability of the 288 is a benefit to Nikkiso's team of over 100 technicians who are able to take advantage of a single solution to quickly and easily complete both earth bond and leakage testing on the dialysis machines. Rigel’s unique earth bond test circuit ensures accurate measurements at low currents which have resulted in a drastic reduction in size and weight of the Rigel 288.

It remains the industry's smallest automatic safety analyser, providing fast and accurate testing of patient, enclosure and earth leakage as well earth continuity and insulation resistance. Its compact design and user friendly interface is particularly beneficial for the technicians involved in testing, providing improved portability and ease-of-use during completion of electrical safety checks.

Satoru Kawarabayashi, Marketing Manager at Nikkiso, said: “The 288 is an excellent instrument, providing a fast, cost effective reliable testing solution. The engineers, in particular, find it easy-to-use and appreciate the fact that it’s compact enough to carry around with them.

"It incorporates a good range of features for a tester of its size, while the connectivity benefits are particularly impressive. The user-friendly screen, featuring a simple step-by-step test diagram, is also easy to understand and follow.

"The ability to import and export data is also a particularly beneficial feature, enabling us to store test information which can then be easily retrieved and used for audit purposes."


Do you use Rigel Medical equipment? - If you think you may have a story for future e-news bulletins, please let us know by contacting us here.



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