Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
show navigation

Clinical Engineering


Clinical Engineering is the largest section within Medical Physics, it has around a third of the total staff in the department. The staff come from a wide range of backgrounds and fulfil many roles.

  • 1 Senior Manager
  • 4 Team Leaders
  • 2 Medical Device Trainers
  • 14 Specialist Clinical Engineering Technicians
  • 4 Clinical Engineering Technicians
  • 2 Clinical Engineering Assistants
  • 1 Trainee Clinical Scientist

IPEM defines Clinical Engineering as: The application of engineering and technology to analyse and provide solutions for the clinical needs of patients.

This includes:

  • Research
  • Development
  • Engineering design
  • Service management
  • Service delivery


Clinical Engineering Services and Activities

The section's work is primarily divided into five areas


Medical Device Management (MAIN PAGE)

The main role of the Clinical Engineering in Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is to provide a  Management service to the Trust.

Medical Device management includes a wide range of activities:

  • Advice and assistance with equipment evaluation prior to purchase
  • Help with deciding on the model that most fits the user departments needs
  • Preparation ready for the implementation of the device which includes commissioning the equipment and training the staff how to use it
  • Technical and clinical support of the equipment and staff during its life time
  • Planned end of life replacement
  • Correct disposal of the old equipment

Along side this goes the record keeping. An asset register of all equipment is maintained as well as a log of all service work performed.



Link to Medical Devices, Equipment and other Services

Equipment Service and Repair

A major section of the equipment management is the support of the equipment during its functional life. The equipment receives planned service and performance tests as well as breakdown and emergency repairs.

This covers all kinds of equipment from the large to the small

Large and Small Equipment

The expertise in Clinical Engineering means that a bulk of the equipment within the Trust is managed and serviced by the section. Hence the staff have to have knowledge in these technologies:

  • Electronics
  • Electro mechanical
  • Radiation – both ionising and non-ionising
  • Ultrasonic
  • Pneumatic
  • Hydraulic
  • Optical
  • Chemical
  • Computing

As well as understanding many physiological measurement parameters.

  • Pressure
  • Flow
  • Temperature
  • Mass
  • Size
  • H+ Concentration (pH)
  • Gas composition
  • Voltage

They support over 1000 different types of device.

The team provides routine servicing across 3 Acute Trust sites & local PCTs. They look after around 15,000 medical devices worth about £30 million. They perform around 3,600 repairs and 14,000 planned maintenance services per annum.



Medical Device Training

The accidental misuse of medical devices can be a major risk of harm to a patient.

In the UK between 1990 & 2000 there were 1,495 incidents serious enough to be reported to the MHRA involving infusion pumps alone.

  • About a quarter were attributed to mechanical faults
  • About a quarter were attributed to user error.
  • The raining half had no cause reported or insufficient information but if mechanical faults can be ruled out this can only leave user errors.

This is roughly one incident every other day, three quarters of which could have been avoided by the correct use of the equipment.

Because of the potential to cause injury to a patient Medical Device Training is a key requirement of NHSLA.

A team of two trainers provide the training required on a wide range of medical devices.

Contact Info: Medical Device Training Group Email  Telephone: 02392286000 Ext 3786

As well as providing direct training on a wide range of equipment, they can act as a point of contact to arrange training on specialised equipment. This training is backed up by a verification of competency.



This Trust is part of a consortium with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) to provide Healthcare Scientist Training (STP) Program. In the past there have been Clinical Engineer trainees based at Southampton who have spent part of their training time at Portsmouth. Currently, one part II trainee is completing his training under the old Clinical Scientist Training Scheme in the field of Clinical Engineering at Portsmouth.

Vision for the future

The future of Clinical Engineering is seen to be built on the current success and developing research and development activities.

  • Offer Trust R&D expertise
  • Utilise and develop current staff to perform R&D activities
  • Recruit and train new staff who have interests and abilities for R&D
  • Collaborate with Universities and Industry
  • Publish in peer reviewed journals
  • Build a reputation as a centre of knowledge and expertise within and external to the Trust

As part of this programme the section is looking to utilise the skills of current staff as well as bringing in new talent, especially from trainees.

The areas of research Clinical Engineering aspires to follow are:

  • Physiological measurement techniques
  • Computing & IT
  • Critical care technology
  • Bone Densitometry
  • Tissue viability
  • Assistive technology
  • ANY engineering development to advance clinical services

As part of this, Clinical Engineering wants to work in collaboration with academic institutions and industries.

The collaboration with universities would be on two levels. The first being academic research links with departments that have similar backgrounds and expertise and this department. The second would be the provision of training. Clinical Engineering and the universities would work together to provide practical as well as academic teaching to provide a complete solution to training requirements for all level of potential employees, both new and current ones who want to improve their current position. This would be at both first degree and masters level dependant on the career path of the participant.  


Related content

Last updated - 22 August 2019
Working together to drive excellence in care for our patients and communities


Queen Alexandra Hospital
Cosham, Portsmouth
Tel: 023 9228 6000

© Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

This website is maintained by the PHT Web Team. If you have any questions about the website please get in touch