Finalists announced for healthcare innovation awards

Date of release: May 2010

£20,000 is up for grabs this week at the final of the Bright ideas in health awards. 

Twenty ideas designed to improve healthcare will be showcased and the winners announced at the ceremony on Wednesday 26th May at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel.
(*see below for full list of entries and their corresponding NHS Trust)

A new way of assessing whether cancer survivors are ready to be discharged, a training manual for parents with obese children and a scheme to save waiting times using live web based consultations with doctors are just some of the twenty ideas to have reached the final.
The winning entries in five categories including ‘Innovative Service Delivery’, ‘Innovative Technology or Device’, ‘Process Improvement’, ‘Training and Education Materials’ and ‘Software and IT’ will share the prize fund and receive further specialist support from NHS Innovations North to make a difference to healthcare in the UK.
The awards are organised by the NHS Innovations North team at technology transfer company RTC North, and this year are being delivered in conjunction with NHS North East, as part of the Innovation Agenda. 
The awards showcase the most exciting, new ideas developed by frontline staff working within the NHS in the North East region.
This year’s awards are sponsored by Newcastle Science City, Urquhart- Dykes & Lord LLP Patent Attorneys, Skills for Health, Marks and Clerk LLP Patent Attorneys, Hargreaves Elsworth Patent Attorneys and The Centre for Design Research at Northumbria University.
Professor Sir Miles Irving, Chairman of the North East Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC), said:
“It has been another year of outstanding success in the search for new ways of improving our National Health Service.
“Innovation in healthcare covers a wide variety of activity, from laboratory research to the vast potential for innovation that lies in the minds of those that work at the front end, delivering NHS services.
“This year has seen a surge in entries which reflects the appreciation amongst staff that their ideas, whether a new device or a better way of delivering a service, are of relevance and will be taken seriously.” 
“So groundbreaking have been many of the submissions we received this year that the judging panel had difficulty in honing down on ten entries to receive awards.”

NHS Innovations North is one of a network of nine NHS Innovation Hubs across the UK set up to provide professional commercial support to NHS Trusts to identify, protect and commercialise innovations that will benefit patients and society as a whole. Delivered in the North East by RTC North, the project is funded by NHS North East, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and will benefit from £800,000 of European Union investment from the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, managed by regional development agency One North East.

The ERDF programme is bringing over £250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

For more information on the Bright ideas in health awards, call Sarah Black on 0191 5164400, email: or visit:

The finalists...

1. Innovative Service Delivery Category

Discharging the Survivors
(John Pattison, Haematology Nurse Specialist ,South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust)
Surviving cancer is not without its burden, not least psychologically, and there remains a lifelong threat to the survivor’s health. Currently, there are in excess of 1.6 million cancer survivors in England and all have different long-term needs. At present there is no consensus, locally, regionally or nationally regarding the optimum time for discharge or the decision as to whether these survivors should be discharged. This project looks at discharging the survivor of good prognosis lymphoma and how that discharge will be supported by empowering individuals to manage their conditions based on need and preference. Although discharging cancer survivors from follow up clinics is controversial, this project aims to discharge patients after two years.  

Patient Food and Beverage Trolley
(Larry Stores, Business Manager/Head of Facilities; Andrew Turner, Lean Innovator/Inventor; Denise Carr, Head of Catering, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust)
Traditional tea and coffee trolleys for providing refreshments to patients are expensive to purchase and maintain. Moreover, they are not designed for modern ward environments in terms of infection control and practicality. This cost effective patient food and beverage trolley is aimed at offering a wide range of products to patients. The trolleys will be available on the ward at all times, offering beverages and snacks, which meet the criteria set out in the Better Hospital Food Programme. Whilst catering teams at ward level will be responsible for the maintenance of the trolley, all ward staff will have a shared interest in ensuring availability to all patients.

Lung Health Project
(Eileen Hutchinson, Specialist Stop Smoking Advisor, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust)
In January 2010, the Stockton and Hartlepool Stop Smoking Service implemented a lung health project with the aim of identifying smokers who are at high risk of developing lung disease. This was achieved via Stop Smoking sessions held in community settings, such as the Hartlepool Health Bus. The service targets smokers in areas of high deprivation and offers spirometry testing along with support with smoking cessation. The patient’s information is then passed to their GP for analysis and further support with possible long term health conditions associated with smoking, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Sexual Health – It’s Worth Talking About
(Kathryn Kain, Lead Sexual Health Adviser; Dr Diana Mansour, Clinical Director; Claire Pinder, Lead Nurse; Pauline Handy, Lead Nurse; Freda Barber, Lead Nurse for Contraception Services, North Tyneside Primary Care Trust)
Acting upon recommendations made by the Sexual Health National Support Team, the provision of sexual health services in Newcastle upon Tyne has been completely modernised to deliver more accessible services and high quality patient care. The new Hub for sexual health services in Newcastle upon Tyne is the New Croft Centre, which is located in the heart of the city. The New Croft Centre offers integrated contraception and GUM/HIV sexual health services and also facilitates the delivery of satellite replica services in a variety of locations locally. The Service also provides a flexible community based peripatetic service aimed towards marginalised groups who may not otherwise access sexual health services.

Early Warning Assessment Tool
(Marie Pearson, Clinical Modernisation Facilitator, Others who played a part include the working group comprising of a range of multidisciplinary professionals, Modern Matrons, Associate Director of Provider Services and Senior Nurse/Business Manager, Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust)
The Early Warning Assessment Tool supports practitioners in decision making and assists in the assessment of the level of need of a particular family.  The tool is based on the Gateshead Working Together document and the three domains of the Common Assessment Framework i.e. the developmental needs of children, parenting capacity and family and environmental factors.  The Tool is colour coded to provide a visual representation of the assessment carried out and supports the transition between universal standard care and complex targeted intervention for vulnerable families. The Early Warning Assessment Tool is submitted on behalf of the Health Visiting Service at NHS South of Tyne and Wear Community Health Service.

2. Innovative Technology or Device Category

The Portable Nebuliser and Compact Inhaler Spacer 
(Simon Rooney, Regen Assistant, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
These innovative devices provide patients suffering from debilitating lung conditions with greater freedom and mobility, thereby giving them a much improved quality of life. The Portable Nebuliser is a lightweight and compact device, being attachable for example, to the patient’s belt, a wheelchair or a mobility scooter.  Also providing greater independence, the Compact Inhaler Spacer is small enough for asthma sufferers to carry around with them, meaning they do not have to deal with a bulky piece of equipment in order to achieve the full benefit of their medication.

Novel Detection of Vascular Disease
(Dr John Allen, Lead Clinical Scientist in Vascular Optics and Blood Flow; Stephen Hedley, Trainee Clinical Scientist in Medical Physics, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Patients are not routinely screened for peripheral arterial disease in primary care.  However, this innovative method and associated apparatus should enable widespread access to this diagnostic, for example, in a GP setting, thereby significantly reducing unnecessary hospital test referrals and allowing for early diagnosis.

(Andrew Turner, Lean Innovator, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust)
The bedwings idea came from witnessing the need to support the upper body of a patient whilst they    are in bed in order to prevent them from sliding over to one side. The conventional method of using two pillows in a “V” shaped configuration can, after time, result in the patient becoming slouched and uncomfortable. In many cases safety bars can be fitted to the bed however, these only prevent patients from falling from the bed and can sometimes result in the patient becoming trapped. Bedwings is an innovative device which is can be conveniently fitted to a bed in order to effectively support the patient.

The Tyneside Pegboard Test
(Dr Anna Basu, Academic Clinical Lecturer; Professor Janet Eyre, Professor of Paediatric Neuroscience and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurologist; Mrs Janice Pearse, Research Occupational Therapist, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University; Dr Mary Gibson, Emeritus Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability; Dr Mary Gibson, Emeritus Consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability; Mr Jim Clark, Technician and Mr Sean Kelly, retired Computer Engineer. The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Hemiplegic cerebral palsy affects one in thirteen hundred live births, often leaving children with difficulties in using both arms effectively. This new portable test has been developed to accurately measure both unimanual and bimanual function. The results of the test can then be used to quickly and reliably determine the benefit of an intervention.

MUST Alternative Measurements Tape
(Rachael Masters, Highly Specialist Dietician, Darlington Primary Care Trust)                                                                                              
The MUST alternative measurements tape is an easy to use disposable tape measure for estimating a patient’s height and instructions for determining their body mass index (BMI). This is especially important for patients who are bedridden as one cannot determine their height and weight using conventional methods.  The idea for the MUST was that of Rachael Masters, but it was supported financially and distributed nationally by Complan Foods Limited. To date, over 60,000 have been used nationally since its launch in October 2009, and it has revolutionised clinical practice in the UK.

3. Training and Education Materials Category

Confident Parenting Groups
(Dr Annette Hames, Clinical Psychologist, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust)
It is recognised that group-based parent training programmes are most successful and cost effective for the treatment of behavioural difficulties in children under the age of 12. However, there are no evidence-based, parent training programmes for the parents or carers of children with severe and complex learning disabilities presenting with behavioural difficulties.  The parenting groups began ten years ago in Hadrian School, for children aged 3-11 years with severe and complex learning difficulties. While the groups have been running, no children have been excluded from the school where the groups are based and no children have had to be admitted to residential establishments as a consequence of their behavioural difficulties.

Helping Patients to Understand Calorie Deficit Concepts
(Carolyn Forrest, Lead Dietician for Adult Weight Management; Sue Merry, Lead Nurse for Adult Weight Management; Gill Doig, Rachel Bradley, Catriona Dodds, Helen Keegan, Liz Purdue, Anne Rodgers, Carolyn Spooner, Deb Stone and Alison Barnes, Dieticians, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust)
When working through weight loss issues with patients in dietary workshops, it can sometimes be difficult to help patients understand the concept of calories and the importance of achieving a deficit in order to lose weight.  This innovative system helps patients to better understand the information provided to them, without making them feel self conscious or embarrassed.  

(Dr Peter Craggy, Chief Audiologist, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
After demonstrating to patients how to use their new hearing aid and explaining how to manage their rehabilitation, some patients find it very difficult to cope once they have left the clinic. This tends to lead to little or no use of the aid. Consequently, the lack of understanding in using the device leads to staff in Audiology Departments spending unnecessary time retraining the patients. Aid2Aid is a multi-media tool, which shows patients how to operate their hearing aid, which will hopefully lead to a fall in unnecessary attendance at very busy aftercare services.

4. Software and IT Category

SCIP IT Website
(Dr David Julien, General Practitioner, South Tyneside Primary Care Trust)
SCIP IT (Share, Compare, Ideas, Plan) is an interactive, web based motivational interviewing tool that can help the user make and maintain healthy changes to the way they live their life and direct them to local services for support. The website is based around our SCIP framework, which was developed in conjunction with First Contact Clinical for the delivery of alcohol brief advice and other lifestyle brief interventions in a range of settings.The framework has proved extremely popular and easy to use.

Skype™ Your Consultant
(Dr Cezary Olszewski, Consultant Cardiologist, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust)
A number of patients and GPs have clinical questions and anxieties which could easily be addressed by consultants using Skype™. This can vastly reduce waiting times for patients, help consultants and GPs to work more efficiently and also reduce the number of unnecessary referrals to consultants.

 5. Process Improvement Category

Innovative Bathing Assessment Service
(Louise Lewis, Physiotherapist, Northumberland Care Trust)
Bathing assessments in the community are generally carried out over the course of three visits resulting in the patient having to wait at home on three separate occasions. The visit is normally carried out by two frontline staff and one representative from the loans service. The innovative bathing assessment service vastly reduces the waiting time for assessment and also speeds up the provision and fitting of necessary equipment by one dedicated team carrying out the whole process in a single visit.

Radiographer Practitioners in Minor Injuries 
Deborah Henderson, Acting Site Lead (Radiology); Lauraine Gibson, Matron of Minor Injuries Trust-wide); Susanne Moore (Senior Radiographer) Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
This innovative process facilitates the discharge of patients having soft tissue injuries directly from radiology by suitably trained radiographers. The idea was prompted by changes in the NHS such as the NHS Plan which encourages the crossing of professional boundaries to optimise expertise whilst improving patient care. This new and improved patient pathway has many benefits including shorter waiting times and fewer trips between departments.

Instant Stationery
(Janet Ayre, Nurse Practitioner, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust)
Medical charts for recordal of patient information such as blood pressure, intravenous prescribing, fluid levels etc are typically procured by the NHS. The instant stationery idea aims to standardise such charts throughout the Trust and store them in an electronic format which would be easily accessible by authorised NHS staff. This would prevent instances of inadequate stock availability and help reduce unnecessary wastage.

Visual Assurance for Bed Space Cleaning
(Kevin Melling, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust)
There is currently no system in place for providing a visual assurance to patients regarding the cleanliness of their bed and the surrounding area. This is a particular problem on account of the awareness of the general public of the importance of reducing the risk of infection within hospitals. This process improvement comprises a cleaning checklist which, when completed, displays a message on an electronic display in the vicinity of the patient’s bed, confirming that the bed and the surrounding area have been cleaned and is ready to be used.

Central Stores Resource List
(David Peat, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust)
This process improvement relates to the logging and central storage of equipment which is no longer required by a particular department, so that another department within the Trust can have the opportunity to make use of it. For example, if a department requires a particular piece of equipment, they can in the first instance contact a central stores enquiry line to ask if they have it, before purchasing a brand new version. This provides quicker access to equipment and significant cost savings for the Trust. 


CONTACT: Jamie Ollivere at RTC North on Tel: 01915164400 Mob: 07950566182 or email


NHS Innovations North... is the innovation and intellectual property management service available to all NHS Trusts in the North East of England and is delivered by RTC North on behalf of the NHS.

NHS Innovations North acts as a broker between industry, academia and the health service to bring NHS employees’ bright ideas to life, turning them into products and services that improve healthcare and generate revenue for both the NHS and its industrial partners.

It is one of the nine regional hubs across the NHS in England and is funded by NHS North East, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is part financed by the European Union’s ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, securing £800,000 ERDF investment through regional development agency One North East. The ERDF programme is bringing over £250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.

The team at NHS Innovations North have experience and expertise in prior art exploration, market research and the commercialisation process. This encompasses all aspects of NHS technology from identification of ideas through to appropriate protection and establishing licensing agreements.

RTC North... is an independent company delivering initiatives and providing services to support economic growth. Our consultants excel in the areas of technology transfer, commercialisation, business growth and open innovation and have worked with thousands of local companies since 1989 to create jobs, wealth and a better quality of life for the people of Northern England.

Employing 70 people at its headquarters in the North East, RTC North is the parent company of RTC NorthWest in Liverpool and RTC Yorkshire in Leeds. Both companies were established to provide services across the Northern Way.

RTC North and its subsidiaries act as delivery partners for business support programmes on behalf of One NorthEast, Yorkshire Forward, the Northwest Development Agency and the European Commission.

Author: Jamie Ollivere at RTC North

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