A Medical Device Daily

The locations have been set for seven new National Health Service (NHS) walk-in centers scheduled to be opened near busy rail stations this spring.

UK Health Minister John Hutton said the walk-in general practitioner (GP) offices would be located at the Liver-pool Street, Canary Wharf, Kings Cross and Victoria stations in London, New Station Street in Leeds, Piccadilly Station in Manchester and Central Station in Newcastle.

Estimates are that more than 30,000 patients a year will benefit from treatment at each of the seven new centers.

Around £25 million will be invested in the centers over the first three years.

“There is a real demand for medical centers at busy stations,“ said Hutton. “The convenient location of these NHS Walk-in Centers for commuters will make better access to healthcare a reality. They will allow many patients to see a GP or a nurse when they choose, without the need for an appointment.“

The Department of Health had announced plans for the new centers at rail stations last November (Medical Device Daily, Nov. 8, 2004). In noting that they would be operated as a pilot program over a five-year period, the department said that if they prove to be a success, several more could be rolled out in other major cities across the country.

A MORI Social Research Institute survey for the Department of Health whose results were revealed earlier this month indicated widespread interest among commuters in using the new walk-in centers.

The survey of 800 workers who use train stations to travel to work, found that nearly two in three commuters (63%) said they are “likely“ to use the new medical facilities and more than four in 10 (42%) are “certain“ or “very likely“ to use them.

Some 36% of those surveyed said they would prefer to use the new centers in the morning, on their way to work, with another 32% saying they would be more likely to use them in the evening, on their way back from work.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said they would prefer to just walk in. Only one in six would prefer to make an appointment before being treated. While fast access is a must, commuters are less worried about who they see; the majority say it would not matter to them if they would be seen by a GP or a nurse.

The new centers, which will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., will offer the same range of services patients traditionally receive from a GP practice, but without the need for an appointment and in a more convenient location for commuters.

The centers also will be open to local residents.

In inviting bids to run the stand-alone centers, the Department of Health has received 70 expressions of interest from national and international healthcare providers, as well as GP collectives.

European office for Aperio Technologies

Aperio Technologies (Vista, California), a provider of virtual microscopy systems, has opened a European operations center in Alton, Hampshire, 60 miles southwest of London.

The new facility was opened in order to support Aperio's growing European customer base. It houses a customer service and support center as well as a demonstration suite showcasing Aperio's line of virtual microscopy systems.

Saying that his firm is the first major virtual microscopy company to operate in Europe, Martin Stuart, vice president of sales, said, “Recent installations of ScanScope systems at teaching hospitals, research facilities and pharmaceutical companies throughout Europe underscore the rapid adoption of our innovative technology.“

Virtual microscopy is the practice of converting entire glass microscope slides to high-resolution digital slides — images of an entire slide that can be remotely viewed on computer monitors — eliminating the need for conventional microscopes.

The company said digital slides have many applications in clinical and research uses, as well as in educational arenas. Its ScanScope systems represent what it terms “the ultimate in high-speed digital slide creation, management and analysis for pathology.“

According to Aperio, pathologists who use ScanScope systems “are able to make faster, more accurate and more in-depth interpretations.“ It said archival and retrieval, education, quality assurance, frozen section interpretation, secondary consultations and entire-slide image analysis all are improved through use of the systems.

CEO Dirk Soenksen said, “The European community is definitely taking the lead in driving large-scale innovations in pathology. Digital pathology initiatives, such as PathGrid and the UK's ambitious and well-funded Modernizing Pathology Services initiative, point out the benefits attainable by integrating virtual microscopy into slide-based pathology.“

Soenksen said non-profits, state-run healthcare organizations and commercial researchers all are working toward that end, and the opening of the new office in Alton “allows us to work more closely with our European customers to help them achieve their goals.“

No Comments