Healthcare innovators are celebrated at awards night

Claire Lomas MBE, who became the first person to finish the Great North Run wearing a pioneering bionic suit, was the guest speaker.
Claire Lomas MBE, who became the first person to finish the Great North Run wearing a pioneering bionic suit, was the guest speaker.

Hundreds of healthcare professionals gathered last month to celebrate the North’s most promising innovators at the 2017 Bright Ideas in Health Awards.

Now in its 14th year, the event showcases the achievements of NHS staff and healthcare SMEs working towards improving patient care in the North East and North Cumbria through pioneering product or service ideas.

This year, inspirational fund-raiser Claire Lomas MBE, who became the first person to finish the Great North Run wearing a pioneering bionic suit, celebrated with the winners and gave a moving speech about how innovation changed her life after she was paralysed from the chest down in 2007.

She said: “It has been a huge honour to speak at the Bright Ideas in Health Awards and meet many inspiring people who have achieved so much. I have fond memories of the region after taking part in the Great North Run so it’s great to be back for this special event.

“The NHS has played a big part in my life and the people I’ve met who work for the NHS are incredible and don’t always get the recognition they deserve. That’s why I think the awards are such a fantastic way to celebrate their achievements.

“My bionic suit is a great example of innovation and demonstrates just how far ideas have advanced. I believe we can achieve anything we set our minds to and I’m excited to see how these award-winning ideas evolve and improve patient care in the years to come.”

The 2017 winners included the North East Ambulance Service, for both its falls prevention training and its direct GP booking service, alongside the likes of a non-invasive test for bladder cancer and treatment for inherited kidney disease. All the winners in the seven categories receive a cash prize to help develop and commercialise their ideas.