• Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Bright Sparks invited to share their ideas


Jun 17, 2017

Healthcare innovators are being invited to submit their ideas for a prestigious annual competition recognising innovation and excellence in healthcare.

Now in its 14th year, the Bright Ideas in Health Awards encourage, celebrate and reward the outstanding innovation and excellence emerging from front line NHS staff and SMEs in the North East and North Cumbria.

Highlighting the NHS staff and healthcare SMEs working to improve patient care throughout the region, this year’s hopeful healthcare pioneers are being encouraged to submit their inventions and innovative ideas as the contest opens for entries.

Dr Nicola Wesley, Director of Innovation at the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), said: “Over the past 14 years the Bright Ideas in Health Awards have grown to become one of the most highly sought after accolades in the region’s healthcare sector.

“The awards showcase the outstanding examples of practice and innovation achievements of frontline staff and budding entrepreneurs that help to improve patient care, like no other event.

“For winners, the recognition gives a huge boost to their teams and organisations. It enhances their projects, raises morale and can help to secure backing and finance.”

The event is organised by RTC North in partnership with the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN) and the NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria.

This year there are seven categories: Innovative Technology or Device, Service Improvement, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, Outstanding Industry Collaboration with the NHS, Primary and Community Care, Research Delivery Impact, sponsored by NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria and Most Innovative NHS Education Provider, sponsored by Health Education England North East.

The winners of each category will receive a cash prize to help progress their ideas as well as specialist support from organisers RTC North, the AHSN NENC and the Clinical Research Network NENC.

Last year’s ceremony saw success for a range of pioneering ideas including an improved IVF egg collection procedure to save both clinician and embryologist time and a fixation device for use in ophthalmic imaging.

One of the winners of the Patient and Public Involvement Award was a project aimed at empowering GP practice patients to become ‘Practice Champions’.

Sheinaz Stansfield, Practice Manager at Oxford Terrace and Rawling Road Medical Group in Gateshead, was part of the team from NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group that led the ‘Practice Champions’ project, which won the Patient and Public Involvement – Making Research Better award.

The team developed 39 patients as ‘Practice Champions’ who have been trained to support the GP practice, other patients and the broader community, with the aim of taking a population health and wellbeing approach to the provision of GP services.

Sheinaz said: “Winning a Bright Ideas in Health Award for the Practice Champions initiative has been a fantastic accolade for our team. The prize money has helped to fund a full year’s group work and events allowing us to build on the programme, improving services for our practice population.

Going forward new relationships with patients and communities will have to be developed to address future challenges. The work within our practice at Oxford Terrace Medical Group has gone beyond this to enable patients and communities to work in a ‘liminal space’ understanding both perspectives to work collaboratively to address health inequalities and focus on a patient centered approach to wellbeing.

Julia Newton, Medical Director of the AHSN NENC, said: “The awards are not only an accolade in their own right but play a key role in making the region’s healthcare industry the great success it is today.

“With the support of our sponsors, we are honoured to once again be able to celebrate the achievements of hardworking people who focus their time and efforts on striving to improve care for their patients.

“I’d encourage anyone with a great idea – whether it’s a groundbreaking piece of technology or a better way of delivering a service – to enter the competition. You could be crowned one of our winners.”

This year’s Awards ceremony, which is sponsored by Health Education England-North East, Sintons, Archer IP, University of Teesside and NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and supported by the Emerging Electronics Manufacturing Centre, CPI, will take place at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead on Wednesday November 15th.

The closing date for entries is Monday September 11th, 2017. To submit entries, visit:


By Emily