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UK's first PFI Managed Equipment Service contract faces 10th anniversary

Siemens Healthcare UK : 15 July, 2008  (Company News)
Summer 2008 represents the 10th anniversary of the first PFI Managed Equipment Service (MES) contract in the health arena in the UK.
Siemens, part of the Summit Healthcare consortium, and Wishaw General Hospital signed the first PFI based MES contract in 1998. The long-term agreement looks after the supply, maintenance and provision of 44 items of diagnostic imaging equipment together with Picture Archiving and Communication Systems. The agreement still has 17 years to run and continues to provide benefits in the areas of stable financial planning, smooth equipment maintenance and increased equipment uptime.

Since its inception in the late 1990s, the concept of MES as a ‘one-stop shop’ approach to all the technology concerns at a hospital has evolved from PFI based redevelopment projects to agreements directly with the Trust.

The first Trust-direct MES was also pioneered by Siemens in 2001 via a 15 year, £15 million partnership with Airedale NHS Trust to supply, upgrade and manage 39 items of medical equipment including X-ray. Both routes deliver the same benefits such as value for money, predictable expenditure over the long-term, improved efficiency and less risk; they simply operate directly with Trust personnel or via consortia led arrangements.

Paul Milligan, head of PFI and Major Projects at Siemens Healthcare stated, “A decade of MES has seen an evolution from complicated consortia led agreements to more simplified direct relationships with Trusts. Furthermore, the contract paperwork attached to MES has had to be developed, most often being spearheaded by vendors in the marketplace.”

“Understanding of MES by hospitals has started to gather pace in recent years and the key advantages are now being absorbed. Of notable interest is the development of metrics that can provide tangible cost saving examples to Trusts. These illustrate how lower operating costs can be achieved via MES routes rather than managing the same equipment themselves. In a climate of ‘lean’ philosophies and cost reduction, MES can be seen as a vital tool. The future of MES, I believe, will see the consultancy knowledge of proven MES providers come to the fore. Partners will be selected on their ability to provide a solid and wide breadth of industry experience, especially in uncertain economic times, plus prove their ability to deliver operational improvements in practice.”

Through long-term, fixed fee MES agreements, the latest medical devices are made available to clinicians and staff to speed up patient throughput and open the door to a wider range of non-invasive procedures. MES is proven to provide the following elements:

- Certainty - Guaranteed equipment availability. If it doesn’t perform as promised, the MES provider incurs financial penalties;

- Innovation - A pre-planned and rolling equipment replacement programme delivers the latest equipment for the best possible clinical service;

- A partnership approach - Close relationships with clinicians and front-line staff is central to MES arrangements;

- Flexibility - Equipment specifications can be varied over the contract period to ensure future challenges are met;

- Support - A single point of contact to resolve any equipment issue, should they arise.

Siemens is the leading vendor independent provider of MES and has ten projects across the UK with over 70,000 equipment items installed, worth over £80m. This includes the 33 and 35 year partnerships with the Barking, Havering and Redbridge and Barts and The London NHS Trusts, two of the largest MES in the NHS worth nearly £475m; and most recently, a £50m agreement to provide patients with 21st century imaging care at University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust.
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