Inditherm Medical has recently secured one of their largest ever UK orders to provide operating theatre patient warming for the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. The project includes more than 25 complete systems to be installed in hospitals at four separate sites across the Trust, giving the capability to meet the needs of the full range of different surgical procedures. Implementation will be completed before the end of the NHS financial year.
Inditherm are the only UK manufacturer of patient warming systems and the Trust are therefore also giving a welcome boost to British industry. The change of technology will allow all patients undergoing surgery in the hospitals concerned to be warmed automatically as soon as they are placed on the operating table, helping to improve clinical outcomes.
The UK government’s regulatory authority NICE, the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence, published official guidance in 2008, recommending that patients should be actively warmed to reduce the risks known to be associated with hypothermia during surgery. This condition occurs during surgical procedures largely due to the effect of the anaesthetic. Taking active steps to keep patients warm throughout their operation is well-proven to reduce the risk of complications such as wound infections and blood loss. Faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays have also been shown to result from preventing them getting cold.
The cost of implementing the 2008 NICE guidance has proved a challenge for many hospitals in recent times of budget constraint. However, NICE issued further guidance in August 2011 specifically relating to Inditherm’s patented technology*. This new guidance concluded that the clinical evidence suggests Inditherm patient warming is as effective when compared to traditional methods (forced air warming) and may have practical advantages. NICE also identified substantial cost saving from the Inditherm system when compared to forced air.
It is estimated that as well as being able to warm many more patients using the Inditherm systems the forward-thinking NHS Trust will realise cost savings of around £300,000 over the next five years. They should also see a substantial environmental advantage from the change in technology, with reduction in the amount of clinical waste created, estimated at well over a tonne per year, and an annual energy saving of more than 25,000 kWh.
Inditherm Chief Executive, Nick Bettles, commented: “Customers have seen the benefits our product can offer, with improved clinical care, substantially reduced costs and environmental benefits all at the same time. The guidance issued by NICE relating to Inditherm patient warming is helping hospitals to make a decision to consider our technology with confidence.”Inditherm will announce preliminary results for 2011 on 29th March, at which point it will give a trading update.
This order was placed through NHS Supply Chain, allowing the Trust to expedite the ordering process to meet tight projects deadlines. All Inditherm’s medical warming product range are available on Supply Chain contract and this can offer a distinct advantage for NHS hospitals in meeting local or European tendering regulations
* Full guidance can be found at: www.nice.org.uk/guidance/MTG7