Bright Ideas in Health Awards 2019 winners revealed

Healthcare innovators from the North East and North Cumbria were celebrated at one of the region’s largest health awards last night [Thursday 14th November].

Now in its 16th year, the Bright Ideas in Health Awards attracted more than 400 people working within healthcare from the region’s leading NHS organisations, universities and businesses.

The annual event celebrates the achievements of individuals and teams that have developed innovative ideas, projects or technologies that are helping to improve the care and service provided to patients across the North East and North Cumbria.

Over the course of the Bright Ideas in Health Awards’ 16-year history, there has been 253 finalists, 122 winners and 1,800 entries.

This year’s awards saw 32 finalists in the running for eight categories which focused on key healthcare themes including: quality improvement, patient safety, innovative device or technology, early diagnosis and precision medicine, digital innovation, research collaboration, innovation in education and innovation champion.

The winners were announced at the ceremony at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead hosted by TV presenter Kim Inglis.

The bright ideas that took home awards included a project which teaches children how to swallow tablet medication, a collaborative approach to reducing falls in older adults in the community, and an improved treatment of vascular birthmarks.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust took home three first place awards including one in collaboration with County-Durham based technology firm, Kromek.

Other winners were Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, NHS North of England Commissioning Support, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. Ian Dove, Business Development Manager at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, was named the 2019 Innovation Champion.

Dr Nicola Wesley, Interim Chief Executive Officer at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), which organises the awards, said:

“This year’s Bright Ideas in Health Awards has further strengthened the view that the North of England is a powerhouse of health innovation. The expertise, capability and passion for doing things differently to ultimately benefit patients was showcased by every one of our finalists.

“This kind of innovative approach to healthcare improvement is so important to the future of the NHS and we’re proud to see the progress being made within the North East and North Cumbria.

“Congratulations to all the winners, the runners-up, the finalists and the hundreds of people who submitted entries this year, making it one of the most successful Bright Ideas in Health Awards in our 16-year history.”

Category Winners

The winners in each category are:

Demonstrating an Impact upon Patient Safety

1st place A Collaborative Approach to Responding to and Reducing Falls in Older Adults in the Community, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s, accounting for 40% of ambulance call outs.  Despite this, falls are not always dealt with in the most appropriate way, which can result in problems for the health and social care system.  The pilot Project provides a truly collaborative approach to the problem, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and ensuring that patients are safe to remain at home, reducing pressure on both A and E departments and ambulance services.

2nd place Cardiac Arrest Reduction Strategy County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust


Demonstrating an Impact upon Quality Improvement

1st place The KidzMed Project – Teaching Children to Swallow Tablet Medication, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Families can become frustrated with liquid medicines, which often have short expiry dates, require refrigeration, are difficult to obtain from local pharmacies, can cause dental decay, and can be unpalatable.  Moreover, liquid medications can be difficult to dose and can also vary in concentration.  Tablet medications are safer, more convenient, and less expensive than liquid, yet children and young people (CYP) often remain on liquid medication due to habit and reluctance to convert.  The aim of the Project is to teach CYP on long term medication how to take tablet medication as an alternative to liquid medication.  An interactive training package has been developed, aiming to achieve a successful conversion rate and increase confidence.

2nd place Prevention and Detection of Type 2 Diabetes in Primary Care, Derwentside Healthcare Ltd


Development of an Innovative Device or Technology, sponsored by The Centre for Process Innovation

1st place Improvements in Mandibular Reconstruction, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Following radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, a small cohort of patients can develop osteoradionecrosis (ORN) in the mandible, which is a condition initiated by an injury to the bone.  The current standard of care is symptom management, but in cases where the symptoms become unmanageable, the standard of care is mandibular resection and reconstruction.  A new and collaborative approach has been developed, which aims to minimise surgical failure rate and to improve the process of mandibular reconstruction.

2nd place Managing Unusual Sensory Experiences in Psychosis, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust


Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine Award

1st place Improvements in Breast Imaging, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Kromek. Breast screening programmes aim to detect cancers before they appear symptomatically.  Despite this, every year, there are more than 55,000 new incidences of breast cancer in the UK.  Breast screening using mammography was introduced in the UK almost thirty years ago, and it relies principally upon a difference between the density of the potential tumour and the surrounding normal breast tissue.  In view of this, in women with a higher proportion of dense tissue in the breast, it can be more difficult to detect any abnormality using mammography.  The new technique provides a more sensitive method of imaging women with dense breast tissue, improving prognosis and reducing treatment costs.


Digital Innovation in Health and Social Care, sponsored by Great North Care Record

1st place Capacity Tracker, NHS North of England Commissioning Support. Choosing a care home is one of the most important life decisions that any of us may have to make.  The decision may not be out of choice, but it may be necessary when discharge from hospital to the patient’s own home is not possible. To facilitate a successful transition to a care home, it is essential that health and social care staff work together to achieve the best possible outcome.  Developed in partnership with NHS England North, Local Authority representatives and care home providers, the Capacity Tracker allows users to conveniently identify suitable care homes and ensure that they do not stay in hospital for any longer than is necessary.

2nd place Development of an Electronic Paediatric Emergency Department Asthma Assessment Tool (PEDAAT), South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust


Outstanding Research Collaboration with the NHS sponsored by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria and MedConNect North

1st place Improved Treatment of Vascular Birthmarks, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Vascular birthmarks are discolourations of the skin caused by abnormal growth or formation of blood vessels.  The Trust are undertaking a study directed to the treatment of vascular birthmarks, with the aim of providing significant benefits to both patients and the NHS, with patients requiring fewer repeat treatments and achieving a faster treatment response.

Innovation in Education Category sponsored by Health Education England North East

1st place Development of Integrated Competency Hubs, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. During clinical skills workshops, it became apparent that community-based staff were struggling with clinical skills training due to the geography and infrastructure of the Cumbria region, which often results in long journey times between community work bases and the two acute hospitals. In response to this, Integrated Competency Hubs have been developed, with Hub Co-coordinators matching the skills required by the community-based staff member with the relevant patient attending for treatment. In this way, staff have accessible provision for maintaining competency, which improves staff wellbeing and ultimately improves the patient experience.

2nd place Paediatric Sepsis Podcasts, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Innovation Champion, sponsored by Newcastle University

1st place Ian Dove – Business Development Manager, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. Ian has worked with the Trust since 2008, first as Service Transformation Lead Officer, and then later on as Business Development Manager. Throughout this time, he has championed digital health, provided mentorship and guidance to the wider Innovation Team, and has driven forward local Projects, working tirelessly in the development of innovation at the Trust.  His experience and insight have been crucial to the successful implementation of innovation throughout the Trust.

The awards ceremony also attracted national speakers including Dr Sam Roberts, chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, and Dr Sharon Saint Lamont, Head of Antimicrobial Resistance at NHS England and NHS Improvement.


To find out more about the Bright Ideas in Health Awards and further information on the winners and finalists, visit:

For more information on the AHSN NENC, visit:

This year’s awards were sponsored by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, MedConNect North, The Centre for Process Innovation, Great North Care Record, Newcastle University, Teesside University, Health Education England North East, Sintons Law, Archer-IP, North East Futures UTC, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Diagnostics North East, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Health Call, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, NHS North of England Commissioning Support, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, and NHS England.