Unique NHS autopsy service wins prestigious healthcare innovation award

Posted by ap507 at Nov 09, 2015 12:20 PM |
East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at University of Leicester praised for alternative to traditional invasive autopsy

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 9 November 2015

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The implementation of the first true NHS located Post-Mortem Computed Tomography service by University of Leicester forensic pathologists and radiologists has received an award for its innovative approach to improving healthcare.

The East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit and Professor Bruno Morgan, both based at the University of Leicester, were announced as the winners of the 'Innovation Through Integration' category at this year’s East Midlands Innovation in Healthcare Awards. 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.

The awards, hosted by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN), recognise and celebrate the work of the NHS, universities, healthcare companies, charities and other health and social care organisations to develop new, or ensure better delivery of existing healthcare services for local people.

Professor Guy Rutty, Chief Forensic Pathologist at the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit, said: “This award is fantastic recognition of the expertise and hard work of those working in the East Midlands Pathology Unit and those others who support our efforts. It is a great honour to be recognised amongst fellow innovators in the NHS.”

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."

The seven winning entries highlight the astonishing range of innovations that are improving services and saving lives throughout the region. Over 100 entries were submitted and the finalists showcase an incredible depth of frontline innovation. Runners-up receive £1,000 each to help develop their innovation and the winners get £3,000 and the opportunity to work with EMAHSN to spread their innovations further.

Entries were invited from staff at all levels including those working on the frontline of service delivery and at more junior levels. Submissions were received from hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups, businesses, charities and social enterprises, plus universities from around the entire region.

Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the SAPPHIRE (Social science APPlied to Healthcare Improvement REsearch) Group at the University of Leicester was also 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.

EMAHSN Managing Director Professor Rachel Munton said: “The judging was difficult as so many nominations merited award. However, as with last year our 18 finalists really show the outstanding solutions and innovations that exist in our region.

“The NHS thrives on innovation and the East Midlands has a huge range of talent, right across the board. We hope that through recognition and reward we can really put the East Midlands on the innovation map. Our aim is to increase the number of people come and train, work and settle here, not only improving patient experience, but adding to the region’s economic growth.”

The awards were presented at the National Space Centre in Leicester on Thursday 5 November.


Note to editors:

The winners of the 2015 East Midlands Innovation in Healthcare Awards are:

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Patient Identified Innovations category: “Patients Lead the Way”: The Greater Nottingham Cancer Forum has developed an innovative approach to supporting people with cancer as they progress through the care system, through the use of inspirational patient stories

Change Makers (hosted by the Renewal Trust), Improved Access, Experience and Outcomes for Underserved Communities category: “Health Improvement by the People, for the People”. This Nottingham initiative has recruited around 100 volunteers, speaking 18 different languages, to raise awareness of the signs of cancer within their community – saving lives by supporting earlier diagnosis.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Frontline Innovations category: “Nurse-led COPD Service” - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the collective term for a range of lung disease and is a major cause of disability and death. This initiative was developed by nurses within the hospital to more quickly assess patients’ needs. It has ensured people are able to leave hospital sooner and has halved the risk of being re-admitted to hospital.

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Medical Technology category: “Improving the patient's experience of major surgery” - This innovation pioneers use of a nerve blocking pump that reduces pain, enabling patients to return home sooner after foot and ankle surgery.

Carers Federation, Technology Enabled Care Services category: “Self-Help Health Assessment”. Developed in partnership with young people from Nottingham, this App can be used via a computer or smartphone. It provides young carers with a range of support and advice services, reducing the risk that they feel isolated and putting them in touch with other young people who care for family members.

East Midlands Forensic Pathology unit at the University of Leicester, Innovation Through Integration category: “An alternative to traditional invasive autopsies”. This innovation uses Computed Tomography (‘CT’) scanning which reduces the need for surgical post mortems. This is the first service of its kind developed within the NHS, and it enables highly accurate investigations into deaths. This initiative also responds to the concerns of bereaved families who do not want an autopsy for cultural or religion reasons.

Roundwood Surgery, Forest Town, Mansfield, Audience Award category (chosen by the attendees on the night and awarded to the remaining shortlisted entrants): iPad Technology for GP Virtual Ward Rounds within a Learning Disability Residential Home. The GP has a one to one consultation with their patient using Skype, reducing the need for the patients to be disrupted leaving their care home to come to the surgery.

More background about the winners along with the full shortlist can be viewed here.

EMAHSN is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) in England, licensed by NHS England. EMAHSN works to bring together the NHS, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of the region’s 4.5M residents and stimulate wealth creation. Follow on Twitter at @EM_AHSN

Media enquiries: Lucy Hose lucy.hose@nottingham.ac.uk or Chris Taylor or  chris.taylor@nottingham.ac.uk


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