The use of numerous items of equipment throughout the Health Service, many of them highly complex, has lead to the establishment of Instrumentation as a speciality within Medical Physics.
The most obvious demands made upon our services are for repairs and maintenance to hospital equipment. The equipment ranges widely, from electrocardiographs,defibrillators and syringe drivers to radiotherapy linear accelerators and dental drills. Laboratory equipment and patient hoists are also maintained. A steady stream of breakdowns and a full programme of service checks provide a heavy load for the section. In addition to repair work, equipment may also be modified for special purposes or for increased safety. Sometimes new equipment must be designed and constructed for research or for new methods of treatment.
Rapid expansion in the use of computers has created a need for support, both with hardware (computers, disk drives and peripherals) and software (installation, modification and application development). This support is available from the Instrumentation section of Medical Physics.
Diagnosis of disease by means of electrical body signals (electrophysiology) requires specialised skills and equipment. One of the duties of the Instrumentation Physicists is to advise and assist doctors and technicians with such techniques and equipment. This occurs in such areas as audiology, EEG, ophthalmology and electrical pain relief. Research students are supervised and experimental work may be carried out in the Medical Physics laboratories. Research interests at the moment include image processing of ultrasound images.
Medical Physics Instrumentation has three distinct sections: click on any of them here to find out more about each:
The Instrumentation Unit is accredited to ISO9001.
Research interests include medical uses of ultrasound, particularly ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), ultrasound image processing and quality assurance.