Celebrating homegrown innovation in the North East North Cumbria

30th April 2024 - By Dr Nicola Hutchinson

In this blog, Dr Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive for Health Innovation North East North Cumbria (HI NENC), discusses the innovative ideas developed in our region and the ways we can continue to celebrate and recognise them.

This month, it has been fantastic to see a spotlight shone on the innovations developed in the North East North Cumbria and the support they have received from the region’s vibrant health and life sciences ecosystem.

It was inspiring to see a home-grown health innovation get national coverage on BBC Morning Live, in a feature with North East based entrepreneur Aisha Purvis, CEO and Founder of Sensmart.

The feature demonstrated the multisensory menu that Aisha has designed, which can help combat malnutrition and dehydration for people in hospitals or care homes. Alongside Aisha, HI NENC’s very own Jody Nichols spoke to TV Doctor Ranj Singh about our support to pilot the idea within the NHS, and the positive impact the innovation has had on patients. It has been a pleasure to support Aisha with her innovation, along with a host of organisations from across the health and life sciences ecosystem. Watch the Sensmart film on BBC iPlayer (at 35m 14s).

It was also wonderful to hear about the NHS staff making a real difference at the annual South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust Staff Recognition Awards 2024. The awards celebrated NHS staff who have gone above and beyond for their patients and colleagues. HI NENC had the pleasure of sponsoring the ‘Innovation Award’ category, which recognised staff who have innovative ideas to improve patient care and NHS services. Congratulations to Beth Halliday, Speech and Language Therapist, for winning this award for her work developing ‘The Sunderland Cookbook Project’. Several organisations within the ecosystem collaborated on the cookbook, which helps patients with head and neck cancer reignite their love of food.

It is vital that we continue to support and celebrate our local innovators who have the power to generate wealth, improve patients’ lives, and reduce inequalities in our region.

On that note, I am delighted to welcome back our Bright Ideas in Health Awards, which opened for entries earlier this month. The awards have long provided a platform for the brightest minds in healthcare to be celebrated and to inspire future innovators. This year we will recognise individuals and teams within the health and care sector that are pushing the boundaries of innovation across ten categories, including a new award for 2024 focusing on Women’s Health.

Entering the awards is easy and free, so please get in touch before the deadline of 31st July 2024 to share your bright ideas. Visit the website to submit your own bright idea.