Online idea for West Suffolk Hospital wins at ‘Dragon’s’ event

West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust Dragons event. Back row from left to right: Jackie Rayner, sister, w

West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust Dragons event. Back row from left to right: Jackie Rayner, sister, ward F4; Dr Phillippa Lawson, acute and respiratory medicine; Belinda Wallace, speech and language therapist; James Allen, library technician; Chris Giles, assistant housekeeping manager; and Emma Chinnery, nursing assistant. Front row, from left to right, the three Dragons: Craig Black, executive director of resources, Jon Green, chief operating officer; Jan Bloomfield, executive director workforce and communications; and Roger Quince, Trust chairman. - Credit: Archant

A Dragon’s Den style competition saw staff at West Suffolk Hospital put forward innovative ideas aimed at improving hospital care and practices.

Run by the West Suffolk NHS Trust, which operates the Bury St Edmunds hospital, the first Enter the Dragons event saw staff face a panel of hospital executives.

The winning entry was submitted by Chris Giles, assistant housekeeping manager at the hospital. He worked with Chris Lockwood, web content manager, to create a time-saving online form for air mattress requests.

Currently, staff phone housekeeping to request the mattresses for patients in need. The proposed online service aims to alleviate any delivery problems, ensure the right mattress is delivered to the right patient and detail which mattresses are available in the department at any time.

Mr Giles said: “The idea came about because I manage the mattress service within the housekeeping department and we were having issues with audit trails and lack of information. This is just a way to shore it up.

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“It was a good feeling to win, mainly because there were a few entrants and the people who selected it are very esteemed people within the trust.

“It was a nice feeling to be appreciated by them.”

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Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce at the hospital, played the role of lead Dragon.

She was impressed with what Mr Giles proposed. She said: “Chris’s entry was an innovative, well thought out and well planned solution to a genuine problem in the trust and his idea would have a positive impact on the care we provide to patients.

“He has thoroughly researched this solution to this point with no support and it is a pleasure to be able to provide him with the support he needs from this point forwards.

The event was based loosely on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den television programme, where would-be entrepreneurs face a panel of multi-millionaire investors.

Launched last year, members of staff were asked for their ideas to improve patient care, the patient experience or improve working processes for staff.

For the eventual winner there was a cash prize of £250, which went to the housekeeping department that Mr Giles works for.

The hospital hopes to work to implement Mr Giles’ online idea by the beginning of June.

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