By Gary Culliton.
A tender process is underway for a radiology-managed service for PET CT and the maintenance of existing positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment at Cork University Hospital (CUH).
The HSE is seeking the supply of managed equipment services (MES) for the diagnostic imaging services at CUH, one of the eight national cancer centres designated by the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP). It is envisaged that on average, eight to 10 PET/CT studies will be performed each day from the surrounding catchment area of the province of Munster and a portion of bordering counties. As a large neurology and cardiac centre, the provision of neuro and cardiac PET/CT services may also be required.
Patient profile would be approximately 90 per cent outpatient and 10 per cent inpatients, comprising both public and private patients, the Executive has indicated.
The requirement is to include a fully-supported solution with a trained medical physicist, radiographers, nurses, and administrative staff to run the service.
CUH currently employs three consultant radiologists who are trained in PET/CT and who will be responsible for the reporting of the completed PET/CT examinations. A programme of clinical protocols will be required to be drawn up between the successful service provider and CUH Radiology Department, and the successful tenderer must provide regular reports to CUH management. It is hoped that the tender process for the total diagnostic imaging MES for the CUH campus will be advertised in the usual manner and conducted over the coming months. As an interim measure, it is proposed to procure and appoint an interim MES provider for PET/CT services at CUH.
CUH has a PET/CT installed in a purpose-built environment. The equipment is a Discovery VCT from GE Healthcare. Following installation by GE Healthcare engineers, the PET CT equipment has been maintained by GE Healthcare. The installation also includes a LAP Dorado 3 Red Bridge System from Oncology Imaging Systems Ltd.
CUH operates an Agfa PACS system and full integration and reporting facilities have been included in this department.
The contract duration of this mini-competition is for six months, with the option to extend, with the agreement of both the HSE and successful tenderer. Each tenderer was expected to have the opportunity to examine the existing PET CT facilities and ancillary equipment already in situ on March 15.
A meeting between HSE Evaluation Group members and tenderers that have been deemed to meet the minimum Qualitative Selection requirements is then due to take place in Cork on April 3.