University of Leicester autopsy and safety reporting research in prestigious awards shortlist

Posted by ap507 at Oct 06, 2015 12:35 PM |
East Midlands health and social care under the spotlight as regional awards recognise incredible innovations

Issued by the University of Leicester Press Office on 6 October 2015

The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) shines a light on health and social care as finalists from across the region, including two projects involving University of Leicester researchers, are announced in the second East Midlands Innovation in Healthcare awards.

The shortlist highlights the astonishing range of innovations and ideas developed by frontline healthcare staff, local patients, charities, companies, GP surgeries, hospitals and universities that are transforming the health of the region’s 4.5m residents and stimulating wealth creation.

The East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, based at the University of Leicester, has been shortlisted for the award category 'Innovation Through Integration'. Their innovation is a computed tomography (CT) service, which is an alternative to the traditional invasive autopsy requested by Her Majesty’s (HM) Coroners for the investigation of sudden natural death. Rather than invasive techniques, the service uses advanced imaging techniques during post mortems.

Staff from the Research and Enterprise Division worked with the Unit to develop the specialised catheter used for the non-invasive autopsy for which a patent has been filed.

Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the SAPPHIRE (Social science APPlied to Healthcare Improvement REsearch) Group at the University of Leicester has also been shortlisted as part of the Gripes project in the ‘Frontline Innovations’ category.

The Gripes project designed, piloted, and evaluated an online tool to encourage junior doctors to report their concerns about quality and safety of care. The tool was intended to improve safety proactively, rather than reactively, whilst also improving communication and transparency.

The project was developed and piloted at University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), and led by Dr Tapas Mukherjee, a respiratory registrar and education fellow at UHL.

Dr Tarrant’s research involved focus groups with junior doctors to inform the design of the tool, and an evaluation of the tool in use.  The research was funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in the Medical Humanities held by Professor Mary Dixon-Woods.

The Gripes project is one of six current LIIPS (Leicestershire Improvement, Innovation and Patient Safety unit) demonstrator projects. LIIPS works to encourage collaboration across health and academia in Leicestershire and Rutland, by connecting individuals involved in improvement work and research and provided the Gripes project with advice and support.

Competition has been very strong with over 100 entries submitted across six categories; a 16% increase on last year’s entries. The 18 finalists showcase the incredible breadth of innovation taking place. The winners will be announced on 5 November.

Professor Guy Rutty, Chief Forensic Pathologist at the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, said: “I am very grateful to be shortlisted and to receive this valuable recognition of our work.”

His colleague Professor Bruno Morgan, Professor of Cancer Imaging and Radiology at the University of Leicester, said: "This is the first service of its kind delivered from within the NHS and has improved diagnostic accuracy of investigations into deaths. In addition, it responds to the concerns of bereaved families about invasive autopsies, including people who do not want an autopsy for cultural or religion reasons. It is fantastic that this work has been deemed to be among the most innovative projects in the region."

Dr Carolyn Tarrant, Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology, explained: “We designed the Gripes tool to be quick and easy to use, based on feedback from junior doctors. We found that junior doctors were keen to use it - during the pilot period over 100 concerns were reported. But it’s not just the design of the reporting tool that makes it work – what’s also critical is the system that UHL have put in place to make sure concerns are listened to and acted upon, and that junior doctors receive feedback.”

The shortlisted submissions range from an App to assist young carers, use of a fictional African Caribbean character to educate inform communities about high blood pressure and stroke, a diabetes education programme, improved care for patients with ascites (build-up of fluid) and respiratory problems, a tool which allows junior doctors to report concerns quickly, and innovative use of iPad technology by creating virtual GP ward rounds within a Care Home.

Entries were invited from staff and volunteers at all levels, especially those working on the frontline and at more junior levels with ideas to tackle current issues and improve services for patients and the public.

Managing Director of the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network, Rachel Munton, said: “The quality of the submissions this year has been absolutely outstanding.

“The range of projects proves that innovation can exist across all organisations and at all levels within them, and we’ve been particularly impressed with the fantastic ideas coming from the frontline.

“These awards celebrate innovative ideas and explore the potential to develop and adopt them on a wider scale so they benefit people throughout the region – and potentially beyond.”

The awards will be presented at an event at the National Space Centre in Leicester on November 5th. Winners will receive £3,000 to help develop their innovation, with £1,000 for two runners-up in each category.

The full shortlist can be viewed at from 5th October.

- ENDS –

Notes to editors

The awards are coordinated by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks in England.

The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks in England. EMAHSN brings together the NHS, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of the region’s 4.5m residents and stimulate wealth. Current priorities focus on identifying and spreading innovations that address challenges including cancer, obesity, diabetes, mental health, Technology Care Enabled Services and support for frail older people.

For more information about EMAHSN visit or follow @EM_AHSN


LIIPS aims to facilitate improvement in the quality and safety of healthcare in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland by connecting people across health and academia with expertise and passion in the practice and science of improvement.  It is a collaboration and commitment between frontline professionals and patients, to build a community with patient-centred values at its heart, working together to improve patient care.

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