Health Technologies

South Tyneside and Sunderland innovation report highlights progress on three-year vision – htn

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has published its annual innovation report for 2023/24, highlighting progress made toward its three-year vision for 2023-2026.

Imran Ahmed, the trust’s director of innovation, noted the strong commitment for innovation from the trust’s board, the “big success” of the trust’s Innovation Showcase Events, and “great engagement” from staff, who have received training over the last year in areas such as concept development, funding projects, and grant writing.

The trust’s innovation strategy for 2023-2026 set out the vision for South Tyneside and Sunderland to be recognised as “one of the regional leaders of innovation within healthcare”, with a mission to ensure innovation is accessible to all stakeholders to enhance patient outcomes and the experiences of staff and patients, as well as to collaborate with businesses, universities, charities, and other organisations.

Aligning progress updates with the four aims of the innovation strategy, the report showcases the trust’s target to place the experiences of staff, patients and carers “at the centre of all innovations”, involving patients as partners and encouraging staff across the trust to get involved to help improve their experience at work.

Highlights from 2023/24 include the trust’s Rise and Shine game designed to help promote physical activity amongst older people, increase staff engagement, more innovation champions, staff training around innovation and change skills, and projects using tech to “make life easier for staff”.

Aim two focuses on increasing the number of innovations which the trust has the lead on, ensuring that at least one innovation is brought to the market per year, that it applies for at least five grants every year, and that trust-owned intellectual property increases by ten percent annually.

The report shares progress on this aim in 2023/24, with the commercialisation of a product with trust-owned IP, the development of staff training to raise awareness of IP and a working group for enquiries, and applications made for 15 grants totalling £300,000.

On the trust’s third and fourth aims to encourage more innovation and promote collaboration with partners, working on at least one project per year with a regional partner and two per year with local universities, the report highlights successes for 2023/24 including achieving an annual innovation returns rate of 30 percent, promoting national innovations and providing feedback, and working closely with “lots of regional partners” on projects and joint grants, including renewing the Tech Transfer contract with Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria.

Innovation training, collaborations and current projects

According to the report, highlights from 2023/24 around innovation training for staff included joint hosting an innovation forum, running a workshop with Teesside University on grant writing skills, working to develop in-house innovation training for staff with two modules available online, holding an Innovation Showcase in March which was attended by more than 60 people, and launching a new innovation grant for staff.

Examples of collaborations for the 2023/24 period include working with the University of Sunderland on a cookbook for patients who find it difficult to eat following surgery, working with Durham University on a solution to help the trust’s urology team with “a better way to measure”, working with Teesside University on a virtual tour of the NICU at Sunderland Royal Hospital, and working with Northumbria University on a medical device to help check the temperatures of small babies remotely.

Ongoing projects include work with the trust’s vascular team on developing new surgical techniques such as “shock wave lithotripsy” using shock waves to help break down calcium build-up in arteries, launching a vending machine allowing patients to collect their prescriptions 24/7 “at the touch of a button”, and rolling-out a new robot which “speeds up the picking of medications” and frees up staff time.

To read the annual innovation report in full, please click here.

Wider trend on innovation and funding

In related news on innovation, SBRI Healthcare has launched two competitions seeking innovations in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), women’s health, stroke care and urgent and emergency care, with the aim of accelerating the uptake of innovations and facilitating the collection of evidence in real-world settings.

Elsewhere, applications have opened for the latest round of the CW Innovation Horizon Fellowship programme, designed to encourage staff across Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to share innovative project ideas around improving patient care and experience.

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