Published on: 5 February 2020

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, along with its partners, is a finalist in three categories of the prestigious Medilink North of England Healthcare Business Awards which bring industry, academia and the NHS together to celebrate their achievements.

The Trust is among those shortlisted for Partnership with the NHS: Advances in Digital Healthcare, Partnership with the NHS: Acute Care, and Partnership with Academia.

The Advances in Digital Healthcare entry relates to PET – an electronic tool which will link emergency and medical records with the resuscitation room in the Children’s Emergency Department at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

PET is being developed with support from the Trust’s Research and Innovation team and partners, the University of Teesside and Komodo Digital. The very highly trained clinical staff in the department give critically unwell and severely injured children the lifesaving care and treatment they need. PET aims to help them to optimise their performance and improve patient care in the highly pressured environment in which they work through an interactive system which they can use to enter relevant information and retrieve reliable and accurate guidance. This will reduce the possibility of human error, allowing the team to concentrate on making the correct clinical assessment of the patient.

The Acute Care and Partnership in Academia entries relate to world-leading research into reducing the incidence of and improving survival rates from bowel cancer (also called colorectal cancer).

A collaboration of Newcastle University, the Trust and the Northern Region Endoscopy Group has partnered extensively with national funders and industry to deliver multiple research studies.

The Colorectal Cancer Screening Prevention Endoscopy and Early Diagnosis project, or COLO-SPEED, is now the focal point of this research and it was launched last summer with £985,000 funding from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. It involves 16 NHS endoscopy units recruiting up to 5,000 patients a year to help speed up research into the disease. A further £1.25 million funding for a study called COLOCOHORT has been secured from Guts UK, in partnership with the PARABOLA Foundation, to try and determine which patients are at greatest risk of bowel cancer and polyps (which may lead to cancer).

Professor Colin Rees, Professor of Gastroenterology at Newcastle University and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, who is one of Europe’s leading experts in endoscopy (the procedure used to diagnose most forms of bowel cancer) described the collaboration as ‘a North East-led step change in bowel cancer and endoscopy research’.

He said: “We are now delivering some of the biggest endoscopy research studies in the world and they are changing practice. COLO-SPEED will provide the structure to deliver new research projects far faster than previously, with help from clinicians in regional endoscopy units and support from patients across the region. The potential to significantly benefit patient care is very exciting.”

This 2020 Medilink North of England Healthcare Business Awards event will be held at The Lowry Hotel in Salford on February 13th.