Media Release: HC Skills secures key partnership with Barema


MEDTECH training providers, HC Skills International, are pleased to announce a key partnership with Barema, the industry body representing the interests of companies providing anaesthetic and respiratory device support to clinicians.

Under the tie-up with Barema, HC Skills will deliver a customised training qualification for representatives of firms who are required to be present in operating theatres, intensive care units and other clinical departments to provide technical support for staff using equipment developed by medical technology firms.

HC Skills, who have led training and qualification access programmes for more than 7,000 industry professionals, will ally their unmatched experience and professionalism with Barema’s position as one of the United Kingdom’s premier organisations promoting the highest standards in the development of and promotion of medical devices and technology in the anaesthetic and respiratory field.

Says a spokesperson: “Barema is committed to safeguarding and promoting the best possible patient care by ensuring that its member companies maintain appropriate standards through the education of their company representatives.”

The spokesman for Barema added: “There is a host of courses available to our members – however, the one we have committed to with HC Skills will see medical device company reps trained and qualified to a level we can support.

“It will be tailored to the anaesthetic and respiratory sector and it is hoped that, later this year, it will receive the approval of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, as it supports best practice. As a result, we will be promoting this course to our members.”

Diane Irvine, CEO of HC Skills, who are based at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank, said: “The provision of this Barema professional qualification is fantastic, as it demonstrates the recognition that self-regulation is no regulation – especially in today’s environment where there is an increased appetite for compliance.

“Standards of company training in the medtech industry are high, and need to remain high – which is where we come in.”

All HC Skills courses result in government-recognised, externally validated, competence-based qualifications, which ensure that the role of the medical technology companies and their representatives are not compromised.

The spokesperson continued: “As a result of rapid and transformational advances in technology, representatives of medical device companies are regularly present in operating theatres during surgery, in intensive care departments and other hospital environments so they can provide essential practical support and expertise to clinical teams on the use of medical equipment.

“Few patients are treated without relying on equipment and expertise provided by Barema companies.

“Everything – from the simplest piece of tubing to state-of-the-art anaesthetic machines and monitors – are provided and supported in-situ by these firms.”

Achievement of this new qualification, which will be presented for the first time in October at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, will ensure that:

  • THE duty of care to patients is not compromised.
  • SPECIFIC knowledge and understanding has been acquired to demonstrate competence in clinical areas.
  • THE legal and reputational position of the individual as well as that of the employer is safe.
  • THE legal position of the hospital has not been jeopardised.

The spokesperson went on: “Under the prevailing legal conditions in the United Kingdom, no law is broken when medical device company representatives are present in hospital clinical areas.

“However, those individuals are required to know and understand the protocols which apply in clinical areas, including those governing patient safety, inoculations, background checks, drug tests, infection control, data protection and other relevant factors.

“Yet there is no standardisation among hospitals health boards and trusts of what they require in terms of formal qualifications from external representatives. While one hospital may require background checks, another may not, creating confusion and disorganisation between hospitals and companies.

“This is a key problem, because external employees who are required to be present in clinical areas present an unquantifiable legal risk to themselves, their employers and the hospital.

“There are significant risks inherent in the presence in clinical areas of medical devices company representatives, who are a non-contracted third parties able only to justify their role in a practical sense – not in legal or professional terms.

“Recognised qualifications reduce or eliminate legal risks to hospital managements and to the medical device company – plus they legitimise the product specialist’s extended role and identifies that they are not in the clinical setting as a sales person but as an expert who is able to impart practical knowledge, sometimes under difficult circumstances and at crucial times.

“The term, ‘medical device’,  covers a wide spectrum of healthcare products, ranging from sticking plasters to heart valves.”

And the spokesperson finished: “Devices used in clinical areas include surgical instruments, gowns and drapes, operating tables, arterial grafts, orthopaedic implants, ophthalmic implants, anaesthetic machines, patient monitors and X-ray machines.

“All of them – and those using them – have to come under the scope of credible training that places the emphasis on successful surgical outcomes and the highest professional standards that will be able to withstand scrutiny, whether clinical, ethical or legal.

“The professional awards offered by HCS and accredited by internationally recognised education services provider ABP (Association of Business Practitioners) form a credible occupational perioperative standard.”

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Contact: David Boyes
Phone: 07799251439