Services awarded £10,000 extra funding in first Dragons’ Den style competition

ELHT Dragons (left-to-right) Director of Finance Jonathan Wood, Associate Director of Service Development Kate Atkinson, Library Services Manager Abbas Bismallah and Orthoptist Serena Hudson
ELHT Dragons (left-to-right) Director of Finance Jonathan Wood, Associate Director of Service Development Kate Atkinson, Library Services Manager Abbas Bismallah and Orthoptist Serena Hudson

A Dragons' Den style competition proved to be a breath of fresh air at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The competition generated a buzz of excitement by encouraging ELHT’s 8,000 staff to get creative and develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

Members of the Trauma and Orthopaedics Team received 1,500 to set up a bespoke training course for nursing staff

Members of the Trauma and Orthopaedics Team received 1,500 to set up a bespoke training course for nursing staff

Ten teams pitched their ideas to ‘Dragons’ Kate Atkinson, Jonathan Wood, Abbas Bismallah and Serena Hudson, on how their innovation would improve services for patients and/or staff.

Each idea was given 10 minutes to convince the Dragons their project was a viable investment. After each presentation the Dragons asked challenging questions about why there is a need for the idea, how the costs were calculated and whether the idea is sustainable.

Five innovations successfully secure investment while five more were promised support to achieve their potential.

‘Dragon’ and senior orthoptist Serena Hudson, said: “Thank you so much for inviting me to be a 'Dragon'. I was blown away by the variety of ideas proposed, the preparation and the passion with which the pitches were delivered.

"Dragons’ Den is a win, win situation – rewarding initiatives which benefit patients and save the Trust money."

Although NHS finances are being stretched, the Dragons’ Den idea meant that bright ideas which may not have received support from regular NHS funding can still become a reality.

The five initiatives funding was awarded to were:

- £3,500 to the Pendle Integrated Neighbourhood Team to establish a Health, Advice, Prevention, Partnership and Independence Hub

- £1,000 to purchase a multi-lingual patient information system for physiotherapy patients

- £3,000 to refurbish the patient day room on Acute Medical Unit A at Royal Blackburn Hospital

- £1,000 for a Mindfulness course pilot, and

- £1,500 to provide specialist training for Trauma and Orthopaedics nursing staff.

“Thanks to funding from ELHT’s Dragons’ Den, the physiotherapy service will be able to show patient education videos and public health campaigns (in multiple languages) to increase accessibility, engagement and improve patient outcomes,” said a Emma Follows.

‘Dragon’ and ELHT Library services sanager Abbas Bismallah, said: “To be able to provide resources to support great ideas is a humbling experience.

"There is so much depth and talent in the organisation that teams can support and share skills. This reduces costs, shares quality and creates networking opportunities.”

The winning projects are now working with a mentor from the Dragons’ panel, who will guide them and offer their expertise.