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Too many of the 'techs' are just 'board swappers' and I don't know how many times I have heard "it is beyond economical repair" used as an excuse instead of "I don't know how to repair anything down to component level"


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Horses for courses, Neil.

But it's certainly been more interesting repairing equipment than ticking boxes (... or indeed packing boxes to send off to third-party repairers).


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Good to read this thread and would hope that the UK medical device Profession (that is eveybody involved), grasps this nettle and in the next decade of "health investment" - (which will happen as the radiology profession have spotted the opportunity to improve radiology) to add to the regulatory framework as Mike quite rightly refers.

Quite simply, there needs to be more from MHRA on all of this subject to provide consistent steers on subjects like this. I teach what Mike refers to at the Biomedical Eng course but teaching does help to show the weakenesses in the system. Sites like this help and experts like Mike are needed but such experts with the coal face experience need to be employed by MHRA so they can do more than just regulate by the book. They are the flavour of the month so that will help make them attractive to work for.

On another note, I await to see how the UK will handle device evaluation by UK versions of the CE Notified Bodies. This may help the UK to shine again - because of job opportunites - which may ignite a general professional stimulus

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What "nettle" would that be, Ian? What do you want the MHRA to do ... prohibit third-party repairs?

I believe what we need to be doing is the promotion of practical training (along the lines of the old City and Guilds Electronics Servicing course) in an effort to encourage the next generation of competent, enthusiastic, technicians.


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The original post was on about using non-original parts which is what I was discussing and adding to Mike X's points. The post strayed to third-party engineers.

The nettle I refer to is the use of non-manufacturer parts. As a previous device specilist, a lot of the more serious incidents I dealt with involved engineers making non design authority approved parts and parts fell off. I cannot discuss specifics but this was mainly bodged mechanical repairs.

These documents could also explain (in clear English) regulatory responsibilities with re-engineered parts such as the Ultra-sound probes. I think it would need an expert to judge what is acceptable and give guidance for the nation. it's great that we have IEC standards but sometimes, they need a bit of local interpretation. Not everybody is a standards expert.

Last edited by Ian Chell; 01/01/21 7:01 PM.
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On another note - I suggested to one of my BSc students that he puts up a post asking for a shadowing opportunity for a few days - not one offer from the community. We haven't been able to give so much face to face this year.

Last edited by Ian Chell; 01/01/21 7:03 PM.
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Actually, the original post was about having CTG ultrasound and toco transducers repaired by third-parties ... using, presumably non-OEM engineers.

Yes; I saw your student's post, and would like to apologize for the fact that Waqar Ali did not receive any response on the forum. Rest assured, if I were in a position to hold sway, "mentoring" would be common practice throughout NHS Biomed Departments.

Actually, I considered making a reply to suggest that any hands-on repair (and/or fault-finding) work is better than none. For instance, almost every day I see electrical equipment hanging out of skips and rubbish bins (microwave ovens seem to be favourite, as well as flat-screen TVs). Then I held back, waiting to someone in a biomed workshop to reply (and as you say, we're still waiting ...). Doing rather than "shadowing", I would suggest.

Lastly, you earlier mentioned not only job opportunities but also "professional stimulus". I would suggest that both would be best served by a doubling of biomed tech posts across (and within) the NHS, rather than just a few (and it would be just a few) expert positions in the MHRA.


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How can techs be good in this day & age when they lack fundamental skills such as soldering....

I am told that soldering irons are not allowed in schools & colleges as they are a health & safety issue....

Last edited by Umi; 02/01/21 8:54 AM.

UMi-007

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Umi, You are right that soldering skills are slacking. Although I couldn't do it this year because of my age and risk of catching covid, I offered to show BSc students extra tuition on how to solder. One task last year was to build an IEC body model and some of them relished doing it. Too much focus on software these days....I also teach them how to handle a DVM and an insulation tester instead of just showing an auto tester.

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HI Geoff - you got me there sir. I should have said the reason I mentioned it was because Mike quite rightly included replacement parts in the conversation.

Nothing wrong in fitting or repairing by experienced engineers or inexperienced engineers if they know to admit their limits. Nothing wrong with sending a board basher. A lot of boards cannot be repaired locally so it's right to just change them because IEC standards are in place to ensure quality control. How does a local engineer know the heat calculations for the soldering on a detailed board? if it looks big enough to repair then fine but anything with a large-scale processor etc on it is for the factory only.

I was once inexperienced and employed by a big player - so again you can't focus on individuals. If the company is good then they will have the system in place to escalate to more experienced staff or the on site engineer handles it well.

Part of the maintenence ethos I teach students is to understand that some devices cannot be serviced by the hospital and some can. It seems to be a new skill to be able to determine this in itself....I don't know enough about US to comment but hopefully the candour of this thread helps.

Finally, you all may be interested to note the new UK bodies have been announced.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publi...s/uk-approved-bodies-for-medical-devices

Last edited by Ian Chell; 02/01/21 11:26 AM.
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