Medipex NHS Innovation Awards 2009

More than 150 people from Industry and the regional NHS gathered at the Tankersley Manor Hotel on Tuesday April 28th for the awards evening of Medipex’s 2009 NHS Innovation Competition.

The awards, now in their fifth year, provide a platform to showcase new technology developed by NHS staff from around the Yorkshire and Humber region with benefits that can be adopted and used both regionally and nationally.

The sponsors of the Innovation Competition and award ceremony were the Strategic Health Authority, Yorkshire Forward, CPD 4 Health Innovation, Urquhart-Dykes & Lord, Access to Finance, Medilink and Skills for Health.

Prize money totalling £10,000 was awarded on the night to help the winners in the three categories to develop their innovations further.

The big winners on the night were a blood testing tool to accelerate the identification of antibiotics for treatment of patients with MRSA, the ‘dignity’ mobile bidet dryer commode, resources which allow staff to communicate better with children who have learning difficulties and a training simulator to improve the training of staff in radiology and x-ray procedures.

Medical devices and diagnostics

Category winner

New blood screening test

Tom Darton and team, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tom Darton and his team received their prize for the work they had done developing a new blood screening test which helps to cut down the time in identifying those antibiotics which can be used to treat patients with MRSA from more than 24 hours to just 4 hours. The test, which could be easily adopted by other NHS Trusts has the potential to save costs by reducing the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics such as meropenem, shorten hospital stays and prevent side-effects from these broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Category winner

‘Dignity’ mobile bidet/dryer commode

Andy Speechley, Independent Care Products Ltd and Avril McCarthy, Devices for Dignity HTC based at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

The ‘Dignity’ mobile bidet/dryer commode is the concept of Andy Speechley, a member of the public who developed the device to help a friend who had suffered a stroke, and, as a side effect, suffered from incontinence. Andy has been working with Avril McCarthy and the Devices for Dignity team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to develop the idea further and has received recognition for this idea from a wide range of people. The device is a mobile bidet/dryer commode for the disabled and elderly who are unable to clean themselves satisfactorily after using the toilet. It has a built-in washer and dryer function which can be controlled by the user or by a carer and the device can be moved from room to room. Potentially, the device has real benefits for both patients and carers as it improves a patient’s quality of life and decreases the amount of unpleasant tasks that a carer has to perform.


Operating Theatre Fluid Waste Disposal System

John Wilson, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Operating Theatre Fluid Waste Disposal System developed by John Wilson permits the disposal of fluids that have been flushed through the body during an operative procedure (typically urological) to be disposed of directly to the mains sewerage system. Such waste is currently collected into single-use canisters which are then disposed of as clinical waste at a cost of approximately £15,000 per annum per operating theatre.


The ‘WITHCARE’ system

Neil Wright, Sheffield Children’s Hospital

The ‘WITHCARE’ system developed by Neil Wright is an automated monitoring and decision support system for Type 1 Diabetes patients. Young people with diabetes are at risk of developing long-term complications. Tight control reduces the risk of these complications, but control frequently deteriorates in adolescence and young adult life. The system developed by Neil and his collaborators from Sheffield University works with any patient’s existing blood glucose meter and their mobile phone. It automatically transmits data regarding the individual’s diabetes to the diabetes team and due to the use of existing infrastructure does not require expensive telecommunications devices. Data transmitted to a diabetes team can be used to identify those individuals who have consistently high blood glucose levels and those who are not undertaking blood glucose monitoring at home. Feedback to the patient can be sent to their mobile phone either automatically or manually by a member of a clinical team.

Software and ICT

Category winner

Virtual Cath Lab (VCL)

Shawn Larson, Connecting for Health

The VCL is a PC-based computer simulation of medical procedures with two main components; the simulation of fluoroscopy (X-ray) equipment and simulation of the clinical radiology procedure. It is based on 3D games technology and will run on any Windows PC. The software simulates exactly how the equipment works in the real world and so provides a completely radiation-free training environment.

The runners-up in the category were Steve Jessop from Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Martin Waugh of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Kirsty McDonald of Sheffield PCT.


Virtual Trauma Orthopaedic Management System (VTOMS)

Steve Jesso, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

The Virtual Trauma Orthopaedic Management System (VTOMS) developed by Steve Jessop allows tracking of patients who are in A&E (or in a ‘virtual ward’ – i.e. at home) until they meet the required parameters to allow safe fixation of broken bones. Emergency trauma patients who have broken bones have complex requirements involving various prepatory and implementation steps before, during and after surgery. In essence it acts like an air traffic control system allowing optimal use of expensive resources such as operating theatres and staff time whilst alerting the on-duty staff to individual patient’s requirements.


The Patient Pathway Manager

Martin Waugh, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Patient Pathway Manager developed by Martin Waugh and his collaborators creates a specialist electronic patient record for all patients with cancer, suspected cancer or non-cancer treatments delivered by teams related to cancer. It merges data from a range of clinical delivery systems such as chemotherapy prescribing, radiotherapy, the PAS and pathology reports so that clinicians and support staff have a single resource which they can use to make informed decisions.



Kirsty McDonald, Sheffield PCT

NOWCOM, developed by Kirsty McDonald is a touch screen communication device to aid patients who have communication difficulties to communicate important decisions and feelings around medical treatments, discharge planning and palliative care. The team hope the device will not only improve the quality of communication with patients, but also the efficiency of staff time to gain information around mental health capacity decisions.

Training and publications

Category winner

Information and communication resources for children with special needs in hospital

Judith Short, Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Children who have learning and communication disabilities often exhibit extreme anxiety associated with treatment at the hospital.This may be due to unpleasant procedures, the unfamiliar environment, fasting or their loss of routine.Conventional information resources or the usual methods of explanation do not always suit their particular needs.So far, communication resources using symbols to explain the timeline of a trip to daycare for surgery have been developed to help children to understand the sequence of events.Key steps in the process are highlighted by a colour-coded chart.A post-operative choosing chart allowing children to point to symbols representing feelings, wants and need, and a symbol version of the food choices available for their first meal after surgery have also been developed.The team hope that the charts and ideas could be easily adapted and used by other NHS Trusts to improve communication with special needs children.


Kevin Channer, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust,, developed by Kevin Channer, Carole Evans and Fiona Coates in collaboration with Medcom Ltd, is an online training resource for training a wide range of medical staff in how to carry out, interpret and report on electrocardiograph (ECG) traces. The 12 lead electrocardiograph is the most basic and important of the non-invasive cardiac tests. It is recorded at the bedside and used immediately to inform diagnostic and management decisions in patients with a suspected heart attack or palpitations. It can be recorded by ambulance staff, GP practice nurses, all in the Accident and Emergency department and by cardiac technicians and doctors on-call. All these staff need to be confident in recognising normal traces from abnormal traces so that patients receive appropriate treatment promptly. has three levels and over 300 real-life ECGs populate the system so that realistic training and high-quality training to be provided to all which they can work through at their own pace. Being web-based, can be easily used by any healthcare worker at a time convenient to them.


Your Choice, Their Choice

Angela Earnshaw, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Your Choice, Their Choice, is a customer service organisational development programme developed by Angela Earnshaw. It aims, through a DVD, to facilitate customer service standards to be developed in departments for managers and staff to receive training on customer service/customer care and this to be followed up with the establishment of customer care champions who will take on the role of monitoring performance against standards and embedding good practice. The DVD, which was filmed in the hospital, tells the story of a patient who has had a poor customer experience at the Trust, depicting examples of both good and poor practice relating to the attitude and behaviour of staff whilst dealing with patients. A pilot of the programme has already demonstrated significant benefits in relation to customer service and care.


Short-term nasogastric feeding educational package

Anne Wood, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Anne Wood and the neonatal outreach team were finalists for their work developing an educational package for parents to teach them about short-term nasogastric feeding and establishing regular patterns of feeding. Short-term nasogastric feeding within neonatal community care is a relatively new and untapped practice. The training materials which have been developed include a risk assessment plan, guidance for the nursing and medical staff, and an information booklet for parents. The impact of the work to date within Leeds has meant that a total of 45 babies have been discharged home early, leading to a reduction of 446 hospital days stay. Nationally, this could increase the availability of neonatal unit cot space availability and reduce the need for the transfer of vulnerable infants.