Generous donations enabled the purchase of a Sherlock 3CG machine at King’s College Hospital. This helps to insert cannulas and PICC lines – which apply chemotherapy drugs intravenously – more effectively, meaning patients experience more comfortable treatment.


PICC lines are long, thin, hollow tubes fitted into a patient’s arm. The line can be in for months while a patient has treatment. The new machine helps doctors to find blood vessels more easily and eliminates the need for an X-ray.
 
“This technology has proven to have huge benefits and without donations we could not have gained the funding for the machinery", said lead chemotherapy nurse, Kevin Saltmarsh. "It’s been a really valuable investment because it has dramatically improved the patient’s experience – and that is fundamental.”


Kevin describes the new machine as like a sat-nav device in the way it can see where the PICC is going and confirm the location.

 
“Without the Sherlock technology you’re essentially putting the PICC in blind and, because people’s anatomies are very slightly different, you could inadvertently place the PICC in the incorrect position."
 
“This technology means we do not require chest X-rays as part of the process to confirm the PICC location, so we no longer have to expose people to unnecessary radiation. It also drastically reduces the cost because we’re not using these extra facilities and it’s a better patient experience because the machine is mobile and can be used anywhere.”
 
The new technology also helps to preserve people’s limbs. Some patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer damage as the drug strips the inner lining of blood vessels, which can hamper a patient’s ability to use their arms. Ultrasound technology should prevent this by improving the accessibility of vessels.
 

Prevue purchase

 

Donations also enabled the purchase of a Prevue ultrasound cannulation machine. Nurses usually rely on touch and sight to see where a cannula should be put in, but the accuracy of an ultrasound machine means greater certainty, as well as allowing the use of bigger cannulas which cause less trauma to veins. 
 
The Prevue technology cost £7,500 and the Sherlock 3CG £18,000 but the new processes are more efficient and effective. The technology is now also being used in other departments and hospitals.
 
“The funding has enabled us to demonstrate to the NHS that these are valuable pieces of equipment so they can hopefully be fully funded in the future. We don’t want to be trapped in time where we’re slightly behind; we want to be forward thinking and moving the service forward.”