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

The final of our funding call for nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust took place yesterday, with seven finalists presenting their innovative proposals to a Dragons’ Den-style panel.

This was our fourth annual nurses’ call final, and the first to be held virtually. We were delighted to have special guests on our panel: Ann Berger, Chief Executive of the Rosetrees Trust; Kate Brintworth, Regional Chief Midwife for London, NHS England and NHS Improvement; Martin Machray, Joint Regional Chief Nurse and COVID-19 Incident Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement; and Pippa Nightingale, Chief Nurse at the Trust. These four leaders in charity and healthcare joined our CEO Chris Chaney in judging the projects and awarding funding.

Hayley Fay, winner of the Nurses' Call 2020, with the Hand Therapy App

“The nurses’ call is one of the highlights of our year,” said Chris Chaney, “The quality and quantity of applications this year has been outstanding, and it speaks volumes about the Trust’s commitment to the improvement of innovation.”

This year’s funding call saw more applications than ever before. “The imagination, thought and care exhibited by these finalists really displays the Trust’s aim and dedication to making a difference,” said Kate Brintworth, who highlighted how nursing has become increasingly important to patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic, “The fact that you have been able to rally and produce such impressive ideas during this busy year proves that.”

The winner of this year’s nurses’ call was announced as Hand Therapy: The Exercise Prescription App, led by Occupational Therapist Hayley Fay. Funding will contribute towards improving our existing app originally funded by CW+ and developed by Imagineear, with new functionality and an extra 50 videos. The app provides patients with bespoke exercises prescribed by their therapist to aid recovery, and already contains a library of more than 80 instructional videos and audio tutorials, which patients can follow and replicate at home.

The Hand Therapy App has been successful since its launch, and is used by >90% of Chelsea and Westminster’s hand therapy patients as a preferred method of receiving exercise programmes. The new updates will optimise existing features, add new functionality to enable the team to collect outcome data related to patient goals, and include an option to record and upload videos with the patient, enabling bespoke tailored programmes.

Two runners-up were also awarded: Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse Purvi Patel, for her proposal to design specialised clothing for preterm babies, and Senior Music Therapist Louise Brown, for her ‘Sing & Shake’ project which will deliver interactive music therapy kits for families to use at home. A special award, supported by the Rosetrees Trust, to fund the creation of the Video Library for Hand Therapy Induction was also granted. Led by Senior Occupational Therapist Ann Garewal, this project will provide a self-directed video library for Hand Therapy induction to improve flexibility of the induction and reduce lost time with patients.

Thanks to support from the Rosetrees Trust, all our finalists will have their projects funded. Ann Berger, Chief Executive of the Rosetrees Trust, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists – you all presented beautifully, and I hope that you can encourage your colleagues to promote and get involved with nursing innovation!”

We are pleased that nurse-led innovation will be able to develop further with a new unique Nursing Innovation Fellow position at the Trust, funded by the Burdett Grant for Nursing. This is the first position of its kind to be created specifically to spearhead nurse, midwife, and AHP-led innovation at the Trust.