Dragons’ Den style panel awards funding to four innovative staff-led projects

We were delighted to be joined by Dr. Vineeth Rajkumar, Head of Research at Rosetrees Trust who sat on our Dragons’ Den style panel which awarded funding to the winner and finalists of our special funding call dedicated to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals at our hospitals.

This special call forms part of our larger grants programme, which awards funding to hospital staff projects which will help them to deliver better patient experience and care. We are delighted to announce that all four shortlisted projects will receive funding to make these ideas a reality.

The four shortlisted projects were pitched to the panel which included Vineeth, alongside Chris Chaney (CW+ CEO) and Pippa Nightingale (Chief Nurse). The finalists and their projects were:


Buddy Bags
Project Lead: Rebecca Taylor, Cross site Youth Worker

This is an initiative to provide ‘buddy bags’ for children and young people who enter our hospitals with little or no possessions. These bags will contain pyjamas, toiletries, toys and other age appropriate items. The aim is to provide some ‘home comforts’ to these children, treating their emotional health as well as physical injuries when they are admitted to hospital.

Dr. Rajkumar commented, “It was a pleasure to attend the Dragon’s Den awards and hear the wonderfully innovative ideas from the finalists. It was extremely difficult to pick a winner but the Buddy Bags stood out as an idea that was easily workable and could make an instant impact.”


ONE Team
Project Lead: Amy Hill, Senior Nurse

ONE team is focused on improving staff health and wellbeing across the Trust, starting in the Accident and Emergency Department at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. This will be achieved through:

  • Creating a wellbeing space for staff
  • Creating videos centred on wellbeing with tips on eating well, yoga tutorials, mindfulness sessions and breathing classes
  • Coaching for ED staff to promote proactive professional wellbeing so staff can achieve their full potential and feel supported in doing so


IQoro Dysphagia Rehabilitation Device
Project Lead: Ellen Collins and Fay Pickles, Speech and Language Therapists

This project is a pilot study of 40x IQoro devices for use with appropriate patients who have oropharyngeal dysphasia. IQoro is a neuromuscular training device that exercises and strengthens the affected muscles, via the mouth. IQoro activates the neuronal pathways to and from the brain allowing it to rebuild, improve and regain its control over muscles involved in swallowing. This project aims to improve patient outcomes and experience for frail patients, resulting in reduction in length of stay as well as improving the quality of life for patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia.


Educate with Humour
Project Lead: Michelle Cullinane, Physiotherapist

This project proposes to develop two videos that use humour to provide evidence-based health messages:

  • for patients/families/carers that outline what harmful drinking is, how to assess your drinking, the health effects and practical steps to self-care
  • for staff on what harmful drinking is, which questions we need to routinely ask all patients, how to ask and how to give very brief advice in a constructive way that empowers the patient.


After all four finalists had presented, we had the pleasure of hearing from two previous CW+ special call winners. Stroke Specialist Nurse, Ahlam Wynne updated us on her very successful Falls Prevention project at West Middlesex University Hospital, which won the 2017 Dragon’s Den. This project aimed to reduce falls on Kew Ward by using falls sensors to proactively monitor patients with high risk of falls, and has resulted in a 21% reduction (for the period Jan-Sept 2018 and Jan-Sept 2019).

We also heard from Stroke Therapists Emma Murton and Alisdair Gibson who presented their project STEPS, which won the 2018 competition. STEPS: Stepping to Enhance Patients’ Success, is a therapist-led initiative to increase patient mobilisation on the stroke wards. By providing pedometers to patients, therapists have been able to set individualised target steps and encourage healthy competition between patients through the use of a leaderboard.