Success for Cambridgeshire NHS Staff as winners in Healthcare Innovation Competition 2017


Awards recognise outstanding individuals & teams committed to improving patient care through innovation

Cambridgeshire NHS staff are celebrating a double success in this year’s NHS Innovation Competition after being named winners in two out of the six award categories - best Medical Technology and best Service Improvement. Organised by Heath Enterprise East (HEE), a healthcare innovation company, the competition is now in its eleventh year and challenges NHS staff and small/medium size businesses across the East of England, East Midlands and London to come forward with innovative ideas for products and services that address unmet needs in the NHS and improve patient services.

Cambridge innovations were winners in the following categories:

Medical Technology
Dr Nawar Al-Zebari and team from University of Cambridge are developing a novel indwelling urinary catheter device based on smart technology to reduce catheter associated urinary-tract infections.

The urinary catheter is the most widely used medical device with over 26% of all hospitalised patients requiring a urinary catheter. In the UK alone, over 500,000 serious urinary tract infections per year are contracted as a result of indwelling catheters with an estimated cost to the of NHS of £2.8 billion annually.

The winning innovation is a ‘balloon-free’ catheter that uses smart technology to self-activate and deactivate allowing for effective drainage and anchorage while sitting at the base of the bladder. This efficient medical device coupled by its simple design is likely to lower infections and encrustations. It is straightforward to use and is less expensive to produce than current Foley catheters.

Service Improvement
Dr Emma Nickerson and team from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been inspired to empower patients to administer their own intravenous antibiotics, giving them more independence and enabling shorter hospital stays. This in turn will save money and free up patient beds at a time when there are immense pressures on hospital finances and bed occupancy.

The project teaches patients and their relatives to administer intravenous antibiotics through the use of a model plastic arm and expired and/or returned medication. Demonstration videos of the antibiotic self-administration process for eight antibiotics have been created including patient testimonials.

Feedback has been universally positive with patients returning home sooner and benefitting from more independence. For the hospital, patients’ length of stay has been reduced by 2,552 days and at least £316,500 saved in the first nine months of implementation.

The HEE Innovation Awards Ceremony was hosted by science writer and broadcaster, Vivienne Parry OBE on Wednesday 20th September at Sturmer Hall, Essex. Winners of each of the six categories – Clinical Entrepreneur, Diabetes, Medical Technology, Innovation in Primary Care, Service Improvement and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Innovation – share in the prize fund of £18,000 to further develop their idea and received an engraved trophy on the night.

Dr Anne Blackwood, Chief Executive at HEE said: “This year we had a fantastic response with an unprecedented number of entries from the NHS, academia and industry, making the job of our judges harder than ever.

“Congratulation goes to our finalists and winners, all of which are outstanding in their endeavours to improve patient care through innovation. In turn, as part of HEE’s commitment to inspire and facilitate healthcare innovation across the region we will continue to work with them all to deliver better health solutions for patients.

“I would like to thank our panel of distinguished judges and all of our sponsors who have made this event possible, and in particularly to Roche Diabetes Care and Eastern AHSN for their generous support for the Diabetes Award and Clinical Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.”

Guest Speaker at the ceremony was Dr Steve Feast, Managing Director of the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (Eastern AHSN).


Health Enterprise East (HEE) delivers technology advisory and innovation management services to industry and the NHS.

Health Enterprise East