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Health ideas receive recognition

PUBLISHED: 10:08 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:55 03 July 2010

Bright ideas which have brought better treatment to patients have been praised at an awards ceremony.

A new videoconferencing system for skin cancer surgery, cheap fruit and vegetables for deprived areas, and an equipment decontaminating unit were among the ideas which won cash prizes and praise from comic Jo Brand.

Bright ideas which have brought better treatment to patients have been praised at an awards ceremony.

A new videoconferencing system for skin cancer surgery, cheap fruit and vegetables for deprived areas, and an equipment decontaminating unit were among the ideas which won cash prizes and praise from comic Jo Brand. The awards were given out at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford in a regional health innovation competition organised by the NHS.

At NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, Sarah Barnes and Helen Crowe won a first prize for a mobile food store which takes cheap fruit and vegetables to the most unhealthy parts of the area. The project also includes community health trainers who tell people where else they can get help with health and exercise.

Another prize went to Joseph Carter and Peter Young, consultant anaesthetists at the QEH who came up with a safety device to attach to an arterial line. The lines are used for taking blood, but if accidentally used for an injection could have dangerous effect. The QEH pair added a one-way valve so that they can only be used for the removal of blood.

Matt Richards and colleagues from Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust won a prize for a relapse prevention course for alcohol and drug treatment. The course, called Walking a Different Way, comes with a booklet giving patients information about coping skills, better health choices, and positive lifestyle changes to help prevent the return of harmful behaviours.

All won cheques for £2,500 to progress their ideas.

Other prizes went to consultant pathologist Laszlo Igali and his team from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, who came up with live videoconferencing that can be used in Mohs surgery for skin cancer. When the advanced surgery technique was originally developed, skin samples had to go back and forth between the hospital and the Cotman Centre on Colney Lane. The videoconferencing means that while the surgery is still going on, the surgeon and pathologist can look at skin images without having to be in the same place, and decide if more needs to be removed.

John Downes and Val Leggett, from the mental health trust, won a prize for their mobile equipment cleaning unit, which means that whole beds and smaller items of equipment can be decontaminated. They, like Dr Igali, won cheques for £1,500 to develop their ideas.

There were 86 entries in five categories, which were open to all NHS staff in the region who had come up with ideas that would benefit patients.

Peter Blenkinsop, chief executive of Health Enterprise East, said: “This is our fifth annual Innovation Awards competition and once again we have been overwhelmed by the creativity of the projects put forward.”


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