Innovators celebrated at Bright Ideas in Health Awards

Innovative health ideas that are helping to improve patient care across the region and beyond were recognised tonight [Thursday 25 November] as the Bright Ideas in Health Awards returned.

The North East and North Cumbria is home to scores of innovators who are working hard to improve patient care, whether through a technical innovation or better service delivery.

The awards, which were held virtually, brought together innovators from NHS, universities and industry to celebrate some of the most transformative health innovations coming out of the region.

Winning ideas this year included a training programme for pain self-management, an online patient consultation service, a shoulder reduction bench to treat shoulder dislocations, a creative writing workshop and much more.

The awards, which were supported by lead sponsor the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, included a number of new categories to celebrate individuals and teams that stepped up to the challenges posed during the pandemic, which has seen innovations developed, evaluated and adopted at speed and scale.

Dr Nicola Hutchinson, Chief Executive Officer at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), which organises the awards, said: “Congratulations to all our winners this year and to each finalist – every bright idea was worthy of an award. Despite not being able to celebrate together in person, the shared passion and commitment to health innovation for the benefit of patients was still very much felt during the ceremony.

“The AHSN NENC is immensely proud to support the Bright Ideas in Health Awards which showcase just how embedded innovation is within so many organisations across the region. We’re looking forward to supporting this year’s winning innovators and to see the difference their ideas will make to patient care in future.”

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, chair designate of the Integrated Care Board for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “Innovation is vital to the future of our health and care system. This year’s Bright Ideas in Health Awards has certainly demonstrated the wealth of talent, expertise and passion that exists in the North East and North Cumbria, which has been especially important during the pandemic.

“We’re delighted to be main sponsor of the awards and have been impressed by the sheer scale of work happening by individuals and teams to create and drive through new solutions and ways of working to benefit the people in our care across the region.

“Congratulations to all the winners and runners up and to everyone who has participated, they have certainly risen to the challenge of developing innovative solutions for the challenges we face today and in the future.”

The winners in the 10 categories receive a cash prize and support from innovation experts at the AHSN NENC to progress their ideas.


The winners in each category are listed below:

Development of an Innovative Device or Technology, sponsored by CPI

WINNER: Shoulder Reduction Assistance Device – South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: The use of the shoulder reduction bench has allowed us to treat shoulder dislocations more efficiently and safely. The number of patients requiring sedation has been reduced which has improved waiting times and discharge.


Outstanding Industry Collaboration, sponsored by RTC North & Innovate UK EDGE

WINNER: Northern Cancer Alliance and MSD Partnership 

Overview of innovation: Development and implementation of a targeted disease awareness campaign that would encourage people to contact their GP if they were experiencing a continuous cough and/or ongoing breathlessness for three weeks or more – particularly targeting men and women over 50 who are at an increased risk.


Celebrating Innovation Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

WINNER: Digitally Enhanced Cardiac Rehabilitation During COVID-19, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: Redesigned service providing virtual consultations and monitoring through the pandemic to support patients.


Innovation Champion

WINNER: Dr Mani Santhana Krishnan, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry/Liaison Psychiatry – Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview: Dr Mani Santhana Krishnan is a true innovator in mental health care, developing solutions to improve patientcare and experience, putting patients at the forefront when making decisions.


Digital Innovation in Health and Social Care, sponsored by NENC ICS Digital Care Programme

WINNER: Deterioration ALERT, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: An automated alert to improve patient safety by reducing delays in escalating and reviewing deteriorating patients.


Innovation in Hospital or Community Education, sponsored by Health Education England North East

WINNER: GOTT: Gabapentinoid and Opioid Toolbox, Durham University 

Overview of innovation: A Ten Footsteps training programme for pain self-management.


Demonstrating an Impact upon Patient Safety and/ or Quality Improvement

WINNER: Online Patient Consultations, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: Online consultations have proven to be extremely beneficial during Covid-19. As staff and patients were unable to meet in person online consultations have allowed patients to replicate face to face consultations from the comfort of their own home or workplace.


Making Healthier, Happier Places and Spaces – Innovations in the Built Environment 

WINNER: The Bank Chopwell, Chopwell Regeneration CIO 

Overview of innovation: Opening of an Enterprise and Welfare Centre in Chopwell, addressing the immediate food poverty issues through a community cafe. The centre will also provide jobs, apprenticeships and employability skills learning opportunities.


Research Impact Award, sponsored by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria

WINNER: RELIEVE-IBSD Virtual Trial, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: A trial of a new treatment for patients with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhoea (IBS-D).


Helping our Workforce to Recover from the Pandemic (A collaboration between AHSN NENC and Yorkshire & Humber AHSN), sponsored by NHS England and NHS Improvement North East and Yorkshire

WINNER: Creative writing for wellbeing workshop, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust 

Overview of innovation: A unique & innovative collaboration between an acute NHS hospital trust and the Open University. Participants were provided with a safe space, enabling facilitated expression, self-reflection and guided through blended creative and expressive exercises.


To see the full list of finalists, visit: