Martin Lucey - Head of Clinical Engineering & Medical Devices Safety Officer
Photo: A healthcare science team member, Andrew King working on anaesthetic machine
To mark the end of Healthcare Science Week, we caught up with Martin Lucey, the head of Clinical Engineering and Medical Devices Safety Manager.
What is your role and what does your role entail?
I’m the Head of Clinical Engineering and the Medical Devices Safety Officer for the Trust. The role is very reliant on our amazing administration, healthcare science and nursing staff. The department is responsible for the life cycle management of medical devices within UHS from cradle to grave. This includes procurement planning, commissioning, medical devices training, medical equipment deployment, corrective and planned maintenance, medical equipment loans (Medical Equipment Library), contract management, recalls and safety notices, incident investigation (including MHRA Yellow card reporting), decommissioning, disposal, in-house medical device development and supporting research. The service also hosts the Medical Devices Safety Officer (MDSO) function, leads the Medical Safety Devices Safety Steering Group and provides expert steer on all aspects of medical device safety, policy, legislation and national guidance.
How long have you been with UHS and what was your career background?
I’ve worked for UHS for nearly 22 years. My career background is electronics biomedical engineering in healthcare, and medical equipment management. I have a BEng(Hons) in engineering (electronics) with business, plus I have studied clinical engineering post degree (including residential courses, conferences and manufacturing courses). I found the business knowledge invaluable when I made the transition into management.
Is there a specific piece of equipment or technique that is used at UHS that helps you with your job?
The department has a medical equipment management database (e-Quip), that enables the team to manage the full life cycle of medical devices. We are also currently rolling out a new medical equipment training database to clinical areas. This system will enable managers and staff to plan, track and record medical equipment training.
Our healthcare science teams use numerous specialist equipment to set and check clinical equipment protocols, analysers and simulators to verify the correct and safe functional performance of different complex medical devices.
What developments within your department are you looking forward to?
The convergence of biomedical electronics, informatics and AI will revolutionise healthcare treatment over the next decade. I’m excited that our department will play a major role in deploying such technology.
Has any new cutting-edge research or techniques been used in the department since you joined?
We developed a risk base maintenance algorithm, which other clinical engineering departments have adopted. This tool helps us maximise the resources we have to deliver cost effective maintenance of medical devices. The department supports research undertaken by clinicians in the Trust and contributes towards product develop.
What training and development opportunities have you had during your time at UHS?
I started my career in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in 2001 as Medical Equipment Management Service deputy manager. The department had a strong national reputation for innovation in healthcare science and equipment management. This often opened unexpected healthcare science development opportunities. At the time the service was heavily involved with the MHRA at national level and encouraged staff to sit on their working groups to help develop guidance and policy. I was fortunate enough to be involved in some of these groups, which really helped me evolve my equipment management skills for the current role that I’m in now. More recently I was invited to site on the national Editorial Board for the MDSO network. The group is passionate about promoting medical device safety, and best practice across the whole NHS in England through the network.
What personal qualities do you feel you need to be a part of the Healthcare Science speciality?
Clinical engineering is a discipline that combines engineering and medicine to support and advance patient care. It applies engineering concepts and principles to design, develop, implement, and optimize medical technology and equipment for monitoring, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, or research. Clinical engineers also manage and coordinate healthcare technology, train and supervise healthcare science practitioners / clinical technologists, and consult with hospital staff and regulators. A passion for learning physical science with a strong curiosity in wanting to understand how technology all around us works and being caring are great personal qualities to have within this profession.
What is the overall team environment like?
It’s a really friendly department with lots of very different skills and backgrounds, with all team members committed to supporting training and learning of new people entering the healthcare science specialty.
What does your team do to help keep morale up and support each other?
The team is very passionate about supporting world class healthcare within UHS. Afterall many of us have been patients here, as well as our families and friends. Knowing we have done our best each day is very rewarding and is good for morale. The team are very close and this helps the positive culture within the department.
What do you feel is world-class at UHS?
The staff here at UHS make the organisation world-class. The skills, knowledge and passion to innovate and support patient care is what sits behind the organisation.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a career as a Healthcare Scientist?
If you love science, are interested in healthcare and want to be involved in a profession that positively impacts patient outcomes, then healthcare science might be for you.
Is there a moment of working in the department that made you feel proud of your job?
The team make me proud regularly. Their response during the Pandemic was inspirational. The team ensured that the front line teams never ran out of ICU medical equipment, even during the darkest days of covid-19. There was a lot of planning and work behind this.