Amazing patient improvements through KGH Dragon's Den

KGH Dragon Den February 6 2020

Some incredible staff ideas to improve patient care won a share of £100,000 in Kettering General Hospital Dragon’s Den competition on February 6.

Top local business leaders and the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire all acted as Dragons and judged bids by staff in a packed KGH recreation hall.

Staff used a wide variety of innovative approaches to impress the Dragons including dance routines, acting out a mini play, and dressing up as a wide variety of characters including Bees, Star Wars characters, and the Spice Girls.

Nine teams had five minutes to deliver their pitch before being grilled by the Dragons for a further five minutes.

Founder of KGH Dragon’s Den, Director of Finance, Nicci Briggs, said: “It was a fantastic night where our staff presented some incredible and innovative ideas for improving care for many different kinds of patients of all ages.

“So many great ideas were delivered with such enthusiasm and sincerity it made us all proud to work for KGH.”

At the end of the event the five Dragons also consulted the 175-strong audience – who were also able to vote – before coming to their decisions.

The amazing teams that won awards were:

  • Buzzy 4 Shots – Received £7,000 – much more than the £1,212 they asked for. The money will be used to fund unusual bee-shaped devices for A&E which helps to reduce pain and anxiety for children having injections, blood tests and cannulation. They use cold and vibration instead of drugs such as anaesthetic cream to get the same effect and are much quicker to use. The bid was presented by two staff Deputy Sister Sarah Skelham, from paediatric A&E, and Clinical Learning Manager Liz Power, supported by a team of staff all dressed as giant bees. The new devices will save money in the long run because the alternative medications are expensive.

    The Old Spice Girls – Received £8,000 to make two of the hospital’s older person’s wards (Lamport and Twywell) brighter and more interesting/calming for dementia and delirium patients through wall murals, special sky lights and redecoration. The team – who did a hilarious rendition of the “Old Spice Girls” came on stage with walking frames and long coats only to unveil their true Spice Girl costumes and then performed a musical number. They were led by Lamport and Twywell Matron Alice Chalmers, Rachel Glover (Baby Spice), Kelly Donnelly (Posh Spice), Meera Chandarana (Scary Spice), and Loren Fd (Sporty Spice).

  • Team Sonon – Received £8,000 to buy a special ultrasound machine as an improved way to help children with neuromuscular difficulties – such as cerebral palsy - to be given the right treatments to increase their mobility and independence. The device enables clinicians to better judge the efficiency of smaller dose injections of botox which can help patients to increase their mobility. The bid was presented by, paediatric physiotherapist, Jayne Blake, Dr Faizal Rayan and six-year-old patient Caedin – who all dressed as Star Wars characters and were supported on video link by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Mr Srinivasan Shyamsundar. Caedin said he ‘felt like the Flash’ when he had a botox injection used to relax his muscles but felt “like a spell had lifted and my muscles turned to rock” when the effects wear off.

  • The A&E Pastoral Care Team – Received £5,000 to recruit and train 30 new Pastoral Care Volunteers, from all faith communities, to support vulnerable patients and families on Friday and Saturday nights in A&E enabling staff to concentrate on clinical care. The pitch was presented by Hospital Chaplains Neil Tyrer and Joyce Mayisiri supported by Street Pastor Karan Harris – along with a group of chaplaincy volunteers. The team acted out a mini-play where an A&E waiting area had two patients who became very emotional and upset because no one had time to look after them – until the pastoral care team to the rescue. The scheme is modelled on similar ones in Sheffield and Peterborough and on the successful Kettering Street Pastor scheme – which will help train the volunteers.
  • Dying to Donate – Received £28,000 to improve tissue donation from KGH to NHS Blood and Transplant by developing a mobile phone App for staff and having a dedicated nurse to raise awareness of tissue donation at the end of life . The bid was presented by Macmillan Transformation End of Life Care Lead Sarah Parry, KGH’s Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, Linda Knighton and KGH Organ Donation Committee Chair, Shirley Newman. The audience took part in a quiz to test their knowledge of donation and discovered that up to 30 people can benefit from a single person’s tissue donation. The aim of the work will be to make KGH a centre of excellence for tissue donation with every dying patient having the opportunity to make a donation, where appropriate.

    Team Move – Received £11,000 for the Therapies Team to recruit and train 20 mobility volunteers to help patients with things like chair-based exercises to supplement the work done by the Trust’s therapy teams and maintain patients mobility and independence during their hospital stay. The bid was presented by Lead Physiotherapist Jenni Harris, Senior Physiotherapist Vikas Patel and Physiotherapist Specialist Practitioner Priyanka Patel – supported by members of the therapy team. They had the audience practicing chair and standing exercises to music and stressed the important of this kind of exercise to prevent the 15% loss of muscle mass that patients have after a few days in hospital – where on average they spend less than 3% of their time being active..

  • The Super Surgical Simulator – Received £33,500 to buy five laparoscopic simulators to enable junior doctors to practice the techniques of camera-guided procedures and improve their skills and confidence before undertaking procedures for real. It also helps doctors to turn theory into practice in a safe environment and learn to deal with worse case scenarios. The bid was presented by Consultant General Surgeon Ms Adriana Raicu, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Mr Ashish Kelkar, Senior House Officer, Dr Joseph Abuazza, Dr William Brambley from the Clinical Skills Team, Specialty Registrar, Dr Aonghus Ansari, and Clinical Skills Facilitator, Esther Perinbam.

The Dragons on the night were:

  • Alan Burns – Chairman of KGH and NGH
  • Kevin Rogers –a partner at Wilson Browne Solicitors and President of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce
  • David Laing - Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
  • Caroline Anstee – Owner and founder of Anstee & Co an independent financial planning firm in Kettering
  • Ben Thomas - Owner and Publisher of All Things Business, the county’s most read business publication

KGH Chief Executive Simon Weldon said: “I was privileged to follow the ideas from our previous Dragon’s Den and seen how they came to pass and the benefits they have brought to patients.

“I am sure this year’s winners will make sure they do the same. It is often said that staff have the best ideas and can solve most of the NHS’s problems – and tonight we saw a lot of evidence of that.”

A big thank you to our sponsors System C and the Liaison Group. Anyone who wants to sponsor future events can contact