Blog: David Rolfe on Althea becoming world’s largest, independent managed service healthcare provider

“It’s an honour to announce that following the recent acquisition and integration of TBS, Althea has now become the world’s largest, independent managed service provider for the acute healthcare sector.

TBS are a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  We can now offer a wider range of services in biomed, endoscopy and in diagnostic imaging across all brands and modalities.

From the outset, Althea’s vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent service provider.  The company is made up of over 3000 staff with the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to understand the market and to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver performance improvements.  The result is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, independent, cost-effective alternative.

We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility.  We can save them money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.  We are customer-orienteered and strive to take that extra step, each and every time. For example, we offer an out-of-hours service as standard.  We don’t disrupt clinical services, rather we free-up clinical time so that it can remain focused on patient care.

Being independent is vital as it means we are not tied to any one manufacturer or supplier and can offer all our customers the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.  This includes integrating our unique consumables management service which ensures life-changing procedures are supported by the most clinically-appropriate consumables in the right place, at the right time.

There is no doubt at all that we are disrupting the market for maintenance and managed services, and the original equipment manufacturers who once dominated the market have a good reason to be worried.  For the first time there is a large, innovative company that is safe and reliable.  We have an exciting twelve months ahead of us and I am excited for the future.”

David Rolfe, CEO of Althea UK & Ireland

Althea’s biomed merger ensures position as world’s largest independent hospital service provider

Althea is the world’s largest, vendor-independent managed service and maintenance provider for the acute healthcare sector, following the recent acquisition and integration of the TBS Group.

In the UK and Ireland, the healthcare service company offers NHS and private hospitals a range of technology solutions including managed services, multi-vendor maintenance, integrated clinical consumables management as well as equipment sales and rentals.

The integration of TBS GB means that Althea can now add endoscopy to complement its existing expertise in biomed and diagnostic imaging equipment.  The company now offers a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in the market can match.

David Rolfe, UK&I Chief Executive Officer comments: “TBS is a world-leading biomedical and endoscopy company, so the merger is an extremely important step for us strategically.  Integrating these services into our extensive portfolio means we are now able to offer a wider range of services than any other provider.”

Althea was originally created when seven leading service providers, each with a long-established track record in their respective markets, joined forces.

From the outset, their vision was to create the world’s first large-scale vendor-independent provider and give hospitals a choice when it comes to the selection, installation and maintenance of equipment.

Being entirely vendor-independent ensures Althea is not tied to any one manufacturer and can offer hospitals the most efficient solution for their clinical needs.

Today, the company is a one-stop shop that offers hospitals a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to original equipment manufacturers.  Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality management systems.

David added: “We offer hospitals efficiency and flexibility. We have the healthcare knowledge, clinical expertise, and technical excellence to offer healthcare providers industry-leading services that deliver efficiency savings and performance improvements.  Our mission is to save our customers money by doing things in a smarter, more innovative way.”

Improving patient experience at Peterborough City Hospital

Following the recent expansion of the Peterborough City Hospital’s Radiotherapy department, Althea and Medirest, another one of the Trust’s providers, have sponsored one of two ‘hotboards’ which were installed free of charge in the department corridor. What was previously a very clinical white space which patients walk down prior to receiving treatment has now been transformed by artwork from three local primary schools the Trust have engaged with on this project – Nene Valley Primary School, Woodston Primary School and Orton Wistow Primary Schools.

The department expansion which was facilitated by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust’s 35 year Althea managed equipment service added an additional linear accelerator which is used to treat cancer patients and will enable more patients to be treated locally rather than travelling over an hour from Peterborough.

Althea changes UK market as the new world-class independent provider

Signalling the most historic change in the medical equipment service industry since the introduction of vendor-independence, eight leading service providers have unified operations under a single brand – Althea. This combination of independent service companies, including Asteral, MESA, and TBS, has significantly increased the choice hospitals now have when they procure equipment and maintenance.

Focused on efficient solutions and reducing whole-life costs, Althea offers an alternative to the traditional original equipment manufacturers. Entirely vendor-independent, Althea’s services cover all hospital areas – from radiology to radiotherapy, from cardiology to biomed.

Althea’s in-house engineers maintain equipment directly to the highest standards underpinned by ISO-certified quality assurance.

With close to 3,000 staff worldwide, Althea is now the largest independent provider of medical equipment services with 1.4 million medical devices under management in more than 1,700 healthcare facilities. Althea focuses on its breadth and quality of service, freeing its customers to focus on patient care.

In the UK & Ireland, Althea offers sustainable healthcare technology solutions including:

  • Diagnostic imaging maintenance
  • Endoscopy maintenance
  • Biomed maintenance and training services
  • Managed services in radiology, cardiology, radiotherapy, endoscopy and biomed
  • Clinical consumable management service
  • Rental of mobile scanners, ultrasounds and endoscopes
  • Pre-owned equipment – buying and selling
  • Ultrasound probe and MR coil evaluation/repair

Althea’s engineers, technicians, and customer service specialists already support over 300 hospitals deliver financial savings and operational efficiencies, whilst making a positive difference to patient experience.

The companies that have been bought together by Althea are:

  • Asteral – managed service provider including integrated cardiology and interventional radiology clinical consumables management
  • MESA, MVS, Spintech, and Sigil – diagnostic imaging multi-vendor maintenance service providers
  • TBS and Higèa – biomed multi-vendor service providers
  • Ed Sloan & Associates – refurbished imaging equipment, spare parts, and engineer training.

Within the new group, an unparalleled network of diagnostic imaging Centres of Excellence have been established in Reading (UK), Milan (Italy), Mikołów (Poland), and Nashville (US) providing Althea with ISO13485-accredited multi-vendor engineer training and spare parts testing facilities.

David Rolfe, UK&I CEO comments:  “Asteral, MESA, and TBS have been pioneering in the UK & Ireland for over 15 years.  Now, as Althea, we have the capability and infrastructure to support clinical teams across all hospital departments – from cardiology to endoscopy, from an infusion pump to an MR scanner.  We use our scale and experience to leverage and deliver high-quality medical equipment, maintenance and clinical consumables in order to optimise patient outcomes, while providing the best possible value at all times.”

Alessandro Dogliani, Group CEO of Althea comments:  “We are at a tipping-point in our industry. There is now so much complex medical equipment in service in hospitals, clinics and health centres that their need for an independent technology partner is essential.  We have launched a company that brings together pioneers and experts from across the industry. Althea can offer a breadth and quality of service that no-one else in our market can match.  We are committed to working with customers to improve healthcare services.”

Althea proudly sponsors the RAD Magazine Foundation Golf Day 2017

Continuing Althea’s proud tradition of supporting the RAD Magazine Foundation who are this year raising money for The British Heart Foundation, six members of staff attended this year’s Charity Golf Day which took place at the Cambridge Hallmark Hotel. The event raised over £7,000 for the British Heart Foundation – the biggest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK.

Following registration, Ashley Gander (Sales Operations Manager), Stephen Scott (MES Service Manager), Carla Wood (Clinical Equipment Manager), Paul Lucas (Equipment Library Co-ordinator) and Taz Taylor (MES Service Manager) teed-off in the 18-hole individual stableford competition. The event also catered for non-golfers, where Abbie Thompson (Event and Project Co-ordinator) participated in a golf clinic with the club’s professional and took part in a putting competition with the other non-golfers.

Following the day of golf, participants enjoyed a three-course dinner with a raffle and charity auction also taking place.

Pictured left to right: Stephen Scott; Carla Wood; and Paul Lucas. Photograph courtesy of Ben Hensel – Golf Event Photography.

Althea nominates Stockport for the NW Excellence in Supply Awards 2016

Althea manages 39 items of diagnostic imaging equipment at Stepping Hill Hospital. Over the equipment’s lifetime, the cost of the original equipment manufacturer’s support can be more than the original purchase price. Althea therefore worked with the imaging department heads within the Trust’s Radiology division to agree on the purchase of a maintenance service contract. This bold commitment by Stockport into a multi-year contract with Althea as a single managed service provider has saved the Trust in excess of £140K since 2012.

More recently, Stockport’s team has collaborated with Althea to develop a payment mechanism that provides the Trust with additional cost savings whilst continuing to deliver high-quality services. The Trust will benefit from £70K worth of savings in the first year of the new contract with the potential for a similar level of recurrent savings to be made in each year of the contract moving forwards.

Althea is pleased to announce that following its nomination, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust was shortlisted for the ‘NHS in the North West’s Excellence in Supply Awards 2016’ in the NHS Supplier Engagement category. The awards ceremony took place on Thursday 20th October at the Village Hotel, Blackpool. The annual event provides a unique opportunity to gain national recognition and celebrates private sector organisations working with the NHS for the delivery of high-quality, effective and efficient patient care.

Well done to everyone nominated in each category and congratulations to all of the winners!

Heart Rhythm Congress 2016

From the 10th to 12th October, Althea exhibited at Heart Rhythm Congress (HRC) for the first time ever. Over a thousand delegates attended the Cardiology event which took place at The ICC, Birmingham. As always, Althea had a barista bar on hand to attract the delegates who were able to talk to our sales representatives about Cardiology managed services including integrated consumables management service. With Althea’s stand located right next to the ‘Interactive Area’, this ensured a constant flow of delegates visiting the stand showing interest.

The four-day annual event is the largest heart rhythm event in the UK, providing unrivalled opportunity for health care professionals interested in the management of arrhythmias to share effective practice, show case innovation, learn about latest developments and network with UK & international delegates.

Althea’s Consumables Managed Services Business Manager, Ruben Olivier, was thrilled at the success of our first time exhibiting at this event, where our representatives were able to establish new and develop existing relationships within the Cardiology community. Ruben stated, “When you have first-hand experience of working in this field, you understand the requirements in a hospital environment which is why Althea’s Cardiology managed service has been developed with such precision”.

If you missed us at HRC and would like to discuss how our services could help your organisation, please call us on 0118 900 8000.

Althea proud to sponsor UHL Caring at its Best Awards

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust ‘Caring at its Best Awards’ took place on the evening of 29th September 2016 at The Athena, attended by almost 500 staff, volunteers and supporters including Althea’s Senior Commercial Manager & Associate Director – Managed Services, David Brand and Leicester General Manager, Robert Mason.

The awards recognise and reward Trust staff who are inspirational and committed to colleagues and their patients. The event included awards for: ‘We treat people how we would like to be treated’, ‘We do what we say we are going to do’, ‘We focus on what matters most’ and ‘Caring at its best’ which was a publicly nominated category. The ceremony saw an overall winner selected by their external judges from the finalists of the quarterly heats from throughout the year.

The team from Ward 41, Haematology, at the Royal Infirmary, were selected as winners of ‘We are one team and we are best when we work together’ category, proudly sponsored and presented by our staff representatives.

A huge well done to all of the winners!

HFMA Provider Conference 2016

Althea enjoyed another successful show at the Healthcare Finance Management Association (HFMA) Annual Provider Conference, which took place at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwickshire on 7th and 8th July 2016 and had a theme of ‘Creating Synergy’.

Althea recognises the importance of creating synergy within the NHS in order to support the radical changes it is facing as part of delivering the 5 year forward view, where it states that “Trusts will need to procure capital assets more efficiently, consider alternative methods of securing assets such as managed equipment services”. Asteral Select offers a bespoke, vendor-independent managed service with flexible arrangements to meet specific needs. Our service is proven to deliver measurable cost and efficiency savings.

Finance Directors and finance departments have a key role to play in this future, the conference hosted speakers who explained the models, shared the progress to date and featured real life case studies from those increasing effectiveness of healthcare for their populations. The exhibition allowed Asteral to interact with the delegates and showcase the beneficial features of Asteral Select.

The event saw around 35 exhibitors showcasing a range of different products and services to the 140 delegates who attended the two-day event.

The NHS England 5 Year Forward View can be found at here.

UKRC 2016

From 6th – 8th June, hundreds of the delegates attending UKRC at Liverpool’s ACC visited Stand 61 to enjoy a coffee and talk to our sales team about our managed equipment and maintenance services. The show attracted 2,044 attendees, 77 exhibitors and 180 speakers, more attendees than ever and with our stand in a prime location in the exhibition hall, the stand was constantly filled with delegates showing interest.

Our sales team were on hand to discuss how Althea can benefit NHS Trusts, at a time when cost-savings are being relied on more than ever before.

The three-day annual event is aimed at all those involved in the field of radiological science. This was the first year it was also combined with UK Radiation Oncology (UKRO) which attracts over 300 delegates working within radiation oncology.

Jason Long, Althea’s Business Development Director, was excited to meet new people within the Radiology community and showcase Althea’s services. Jason commented, “Most of us working at Althea have first-hand experience of working in Radiology and understand their requirements which is why we provide both financial savings and efficiency improvements. It is always great to exhibit at UKRC, an event not to be missed in the Radiology calendar, to share with delegates how we can help NHS Trusts deliver improved quality clinical services for less money.”

If you missed us at UKRC and would like to discuss how our services could help your organisation, please call us on 0118 900 8100.