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Vygon catheter device saves NHS Trust more than £75k

The Business Magazine article image for: Vygon catheter device saves NHS Trust more than £75k
27 April 2023

A catheter device from Swindon-based Vygon has saved one NHS Trust more than £75,000 along with improving patients’ experience.

This comes from a study by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the Lifecath midline, with its distinguishing feature being the amount of time it can remain in situ. Its classification as a Class III product means it can stay in place for more than 29 days, with it often being in place for a number of months.

This saves money by reducing the number of devices the NHS needs to purchase and means the procedure to insert it is carried out once rather than multiple times which frees up medical staff for other duties.

The Lifecath midline has been used successfully at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) and Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH).

Advanced Nurse Practitioner Julian Phelps has led the implementation of the Lifecath at the Trust, where it is currently used on around 250 patients a year.

“They are typically used for patients who are on antibiotics for six to eight weeks, even up to 12 weeks and they easily last that long,” Julian explains. "The longest we’ve had was for a year, and there are quite a few patients who have had them in for four or five months.

“What we were using before would last about a week, maybe two, and that was it. Also, and this must be something to do with the composition of the lines, they are very good for blood sampling.”

This makes a huge difference to patient experience because, says Julian, it means they do not have to endure repeated procedures to have replacement catheters put in, or to have blood taken. The convenience means that for some patients, therapies that would have previously meant a stay in hospital can now be performed at home, therefore freeing up hospital beds for others who need them.

“For example, with bronchiectasis patients who have exacerbations of their illness, they may need antibiotics for two weeks,” said Julian. “They don’t even come to the hospital anymore. We see them as outpatients.

“They arrive, have a midline, which takes around 20 to 30 minutes, and off they go. They have their antibiotics at home, and no more hospital admissions are required, which is great. They’re delighted because they don’t want to be in hospital.”

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Julian carried out a study to look at current outcomes under the OPAT service (Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy), which enables medically stable patients who need intravenous antibiotics to be treated at home, and compared them with the previous system. He found that it saved around £75,000 in ‘bed days’ over the year.

And avoiding the need for admission to hospital where possible has further benefits leading to incalculable savings down the line.

“With hospital acquired infections as they are, if someone’s at home they’re far better off than being in hospital and exposed to bugs from other people,” he said.

Iona Mackenzie, Product Specialist at Vygon added: “Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s experience shows what an invaluable tool the Lifecath midline is.

“There’s such an array of benefits, from allowing patients to avoid the distress and anxiety of repeated procedures, to the time that is freed up for hospital staff.

“What is also valuable is supporting practitioners to develop new ways of working, resulting in patients receiving treatments in their own home that otherwise could require a significant stay in hospital.

“And that’s before we talk about the cost saving, which could run into millions if deployed across the entire NHS.

“When it comes to vascular access, Vygon is committed to offering the right line for the right patient at right time and we have a range of options, with training available to support healthcare teams to select the optimum solution and follow best practice management of insertions and maintenance.”

In a hospital setting, a further advantage of the Lifecath midline is that it can be inserted at the bedside, with no requirement to take the patient to a clinical room for placement. This feature is crucial when patients cannot be moved – such during the pandemic when Covid positive patients needed to be kept in isolation.

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Sam is the Regional Editor of Biz News, responsible for both Hampshire and Dorset.

A new recruit to journalism, Sam started writing for the Business Magazine as a freelancer in May of 2022 after completing his degree in English at University College London. His passion for local businesses and ability to tell a story soon caught the attention of the publication’s management team and have led to his meteoric rise.

Sam, who lives in central Reading, takes a particular interest in technology, gaming and food and drink, having been a chef before starting his degree.

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