Hospital staff's bright ideas will be taken forward after Dragons' Den-style event

Judges from the Dragons' Den event
Judges from the Dragons' Den event

A community birth facility will be opened and a hip replacement programme expanded thanks to bright ideas from the borough’s hospital staff.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust held a Dragons’ Den-style initiative to find out how employees would like to see services for patients improved.

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It created an “innovation pot” of money and asked staff to pitch their ideas for how it could be spent, in a style similar to the popular BBC television show.

Around 20 ideas were considered by a panel of “dragons”, with the successful proposals including:

A new community birth facility;

Remodelling the A&E front entrance at Wigan Infirmary, as well as additional cubicle space;

Allowing more patients with eye-related conditions to be seen in other parts of the borough;

New state-of-the-art equipment and improvements within urology and maternity services;

Introducing new digital platforms to improve patient and staff experience;

Additional clinical capacity at Thomas Linacre Centre;

Expand the day case hip replacement programme at Wrightington Hospital.

Robert Forster, the trust’s deputy chief executive and director of finance and IT, said: “We strongly believe that our staff have great ideas on how to improve patient care and we were looking for a fun way of harnessing that power.

“The Dragons’ Den-style event fitted the bill perfectly.

“We wanted to demonstrate our support so we’ve committed to an innovation fund – with staff at the heart – in order to support some of the best new ideas to help improve patient care or experience.”

The trust decided to launch the initiative due to a health financial performance in 2018-19 and positive working relationships with partners.

Participants had to describe the benefits to patients and staff, as well as the financial return, for their ideas to be successful.

Mr Foster said: “We face financial challenges like all other NHS provider organisations, however, innovation in the NHS is absolutely essential and we as a trust have a history of pioneering work.

“It’s extremely vital that we build on our tradition for continuous improvement for our patients locally and being outstanding in all that we do. Through this initiative, the passion, care and expertise really shone through.

“We’re looking forward to revealing more details soon about each of the successful proposals.”