Engineers think that they could help the NHS meet the Government’s efficiency savings and give NHS patients a better hospital experience if they were given more responsibility for the procurement, maintenance and calibration of medical equipment, according to a new survey of members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Of the 200 engineers surveyed, 94% said that the UK should have a Chief Engineer, similar to a Chief Nurse or Chief Medical Officer, to oversee the use of medical equipment in NHS Trusts.
According to the findings, the majority (86%) think that giving engineers more responsibility for the procurement, maintenance and calibration of medical equipment would help the NHS meet the Government’s efficiency savings, while 80% said it would ensure NHS patients have a better experience when under hospital care.
Perhaps surprisingly, nearly two thirds of those surveyed (65%) also said that engineers working in the NHS should have more hands-on involvement with front-line patient care.
Dr Helen Meese, Head of Healthcare at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:
“The NHS is facing testing times, with more pressure than ever due to the UK’s aging population and stretching targets to find £22 billion in efficiency savings by 2020.
“Giving engineers already working in hospitals more responsibility for medical equipment and being around when it is used would be a step-change in our approach to medical care in the UK. It is also likely to ease the burden on doctors and nurses. Additionally, having Chief Engineers co-ordinating the procurement, maintenance and calibration of equipment could potentially save the NHS millions of pounds a year.
“Technology is set to play a greater role than ever in our hospitals, and in order to make best use of it, we need engineers to have greater control over the way equipment is viewed in the NHS.”
The survey of 200 members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was carried out in Autumn-Winter 2016.