Trolley good show by hospital team

Tea trolleys to help cut infections and beds with wings are just some of the innovative schemes dreamt up by Wearside NHS staff.

Four initiatives from Sunderland Royal Hospital and one from Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust made the finals of this year's Bright Ideas in Health awards.

A patient food and beverage trolley, from head of facilities Larry Stores, head of catering Denise Carr and lean innovator Andrew Turner, was runner-up in the Innovative Service Delivery Category.

"Traditional tea and coffee trolleys for providing refreshments to patients are expensive to purchase and maintain," a trust spokesman said.

"Moreover, they are not designed for modern ward environments in terms of infection control and practicality.

"This cost-effective patient food and beverage trolley is aimed at offering a wide range of products to patients.

"The trolleys will be available on the ward at all times, offering beverages and snacks, which meet the criteria set out in the Better Hospital Food Programme."

In the same category was an early warning assessment tool, from clinical modernisation facilitator Marie Pearson and members of a multi-disciplinary working group.

In the innovative technology or device category, Andrew Turner was third with his bedwings invention.

It aimed to replace the conventional method of two pillows in a V-shape to stop patients sliding over to one side in bed, and becoming uncomfortable or trapped in safety bars.

In the IT category, Sunderland Royal consultant cardiologist Dr Cezary Olszewski entered Skype Your Consultant.

It would use the online programme to enable patients' anxieties and GPs 'clinical questions to be easily addressed by consultants, therefore reducing waiting times and unnecessary referrals.

Sunderland Royal nurse practitioner Janet Ayre came third in the process improvement category with her instant stationery idea, to reduce stock run outs and wastage.

It aims to standardise charts for recording medical data and store them in an electronic format easily accessible by authorised staff.

The awards are organised by the NHS Innovations North team to identify and develop innovations to benefit patients and society as a whole.

Professor Sir Miles Irving, chairman of the North East Health Innovation and Education Cluster, said: "This year has seen a surge in entries which reflects the appreciation amongst staff that their ideas, whether a new device or a better way of delivering a service, are of relevance and will be taken seriously."