Department of Clinical Technology (DCT)
What’s our role?
The Department of Clinical Technology provides specialist wide-ranging technical services across the healthcare community in Cornwall; this includes (but is not limited to) The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust. The service provides whole-life management of medical equipment from pre-purchase assessment through safety and maintenance issues to end-of-life disposal. Fully integrated into DCT, a Medical Equipment Library provides a comprehensive and efficient loan equipment service for the RCHT.
Our staff work hand-in-hand with the clinical services every step of the way regarding the application and exploitation of available technologies, including the identification of equipment to meet need, trials and evaluation, equipment roll-out, planned and reactive servicing, upgrades and future replacement. Where equipment is supported by a 3rd party, DCT will monitor the compliance of such contracted support.
Who are our people?
DCT has 24 technical staff of varying backgrounds, qualifications and specialisms, with enormous collective experience and expertise. DCT has embraced a greater diversity of backgrounds than would be the case in many typical Trusts, and is a firm believer of casting the net as widely as possible into the talent pool of technical expertise. We have numerous staff who developed their engineering skills on technologies as wide-ranging as military aircraft, yacht building, radar systems and food production lines, all of whom have been able to successfully re-apply their skills through re-training and mentorship – into healthcare technology. We strongly encourage professional development and are currently running numerous technical apprenticeship programmes at Levels 3, 4 and 5. DCT also has a team of dedicated support staff for business and contract administration, equipment pick-up and delivery, front-of-house operations and technical stores and logistics.
What equipment do we deal with?
The array of equipment types that we deal with is so large that our workshops are broken down into functionally-based teams, who each look after associated technologies:
- Monitoring & Treatment – largely (but not exclusively) electronic and look after such things as patient monitoring and infusion pumps
- Engineering – largely (but not exclusively) mechanical and look after motive systems such as trollies, treatment couches and beds, but also some dental and UV-therapy technology
- Critical Care – looks after very high risk technologies such as anaesthetics and ventilation. We also have dedicated expertise in the field of renal technology
What about our response to the pandemic?
The pandemic has been a major challenge to the entire healthcare sector, and DCT has proactively adjusted and reprioritised in order to meet the ever-changing clinical need as the Trust has responded to Covid. It has played a pivotal role in the procurement and commissioning of over 5,000 additional medical devices, and has worked closely with Critical Care consultants and staff to ensure Cornwall was leading the way in preparing for potential challenges of ventilation and other aspects of care for seriously ill patients.
What are our challenges and directions for the future?
DCT will continue to adapt to new priorities and new ways of working as the requirements of Covid change. The huge increase in equipment held will continue to drive the need to look for potential ways to improve the efficiency of our services. It is an exciting time at the Trust when it comes to medical equipment, with huge new investment projects both planned and underway. Current programmes include the replacement of the majority of volumetric pumps, anaesthetic machines, and the Trust’s entire holding of patient monitoring systems – all with state-of-the-art technology. Many other projects are planned. DCT will continue to play a pivotal role in this, developing its staff’s skillsets to diversify its abilities and grow its specialisations, to offer excellent support to clinicians and thus the best care to the people of Cornwall.