Innovation: “An idea or product new to the NHS or applied in a way that is new to the NHS, which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied”.

-Innovation, Health and Wealth. Accelerating Adoption and Diffusion in the NHS (2011).

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are enthusiastic in encouraging innovation within every department.  We want our staff to be creative and feel supported when they are being innovative.

The Innovation Department is here to help support ideas and innovations that staff have identifed that will help in their day to day work.

Innovation can be a radical new invention, however, more often it is something simple which can help improve the quality of care of patient/staff experience. Innovations also help with the development of/or the identification of an unmet need in your service. You don’t need to have the answers, come to us with your unmet needs and we will work with you and partners to find a solution.

If you have an idea you would like to share with the Innovation Department please complete this form and email to

In parallel to facilitating Innovations from staff we work with companies to facilitate access and uptake of innovative technologies and treatments for eligible patients. Any SMEs who would like access to the NHS please complete this form and email to

The team can be contacted through the switchboard or by emailing them at

Meet the Team

The Innovation Team, based at South Tyneside, is funded by the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria to support innovation across the Trust.  

This partnership is working to increase collaboration between the Trust and industry to develop innovative solutions that address unmet clinical needs.

Innovation is led by Dr. Imran Ahmed, Director of Innovation and managed by Head of Innovation Mark Taylor, who works closely with innovation champions across the Trust to facilitate ideas from staff and engage local companies to commercialise innovations.

The team can be contacted through the switchboard or by emailing them at

Director of Innovation          

Imran Ahmed:

Head of Innovation

Mark Taylor:

Innovation Project Manager

David Swan:

Innovation Admin Assistant

Matthew White:  

Innovation Champions

The department is very fortunate to be supported by Innovation Champions, who help us to identify, assess and promote ideas. They are here to help and support your innovation. 

The Innovation Champions are individuals from a range of professions who assist the Innovation Team with Bright Ideas, spreading innovations and learning from industry leaders. 

Supported by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North East and North Cumbria, our Champions cover the Healthcare Group across the following clinical and support groups. They also play a pivotal role in helping innovations effectively guide across the Innovation Pathway.

Medicine and Dental

Ala Mohammed

Consultant in A&E



Nursing and Maternity

Yan Cunningham

Orthopaedic Practitioner



Ayesha Marshall

Nurse Consultant



Joanna Wylie

Senior Midwife



Quality Improvement

Gail Tunstall

Quality Improvement Facilitator



Medical Physics

Caroline Rudland

Lead Clinical Scientist



Speech & Language Therapy

Beth Halliday

Senor Specialist SALT



IT Information Systems

Matt Poole

Information Systems Manager



What do the Champions do?

They help you develop your idea and provide expertise and support to help you bring your idea to life.

Innovation Champions attend the Innovation Review Group which meets annually to discuss every Bright Idea and how best the organisation can support those ideas for patient benefit.

If you have a passion for innovation and are interested in becoming an Innovation Champion please contact the Innovation Team to get involved:


Upcoming Events

If you have ideas or a theme for an event please email us at

Past Events

Innovation Showcase: Funding and Support Opportunities for Healthcare Led Innovation Projects - Nov 2022

Event recording

Innovation Showcase: Prototyping for Patient Benefit - Nov 2021

Event recording

Innovation Showcase: In the Community 20th November 2019


Event Summary

Innovation Showcase: Education 26th June 2019


Event Summary

Innovation Showcase: It all starts with a good idea 18th March 2019


Event Summary

Innovation Showcase: Infection 1st November 2018


Event Summary

Innovation Showcase: Patient Experience 70 years 5th July 2018


Event Summary

Innovation Showcase: Digital 1st March 2018


Event Summary

Successful Innovations

Maternity Mural

After patient feedback and research carried out by the Maternity Voice Partnership, it was found that the walls of the main reception area at the Sunderland Royal Hospital Maternity department were very cold and clinical compared to other areas within the Trust. Because of this, it was decided to create a new mural for the Maternity's main reception to provide more of a relaxing and inviting environment to birth a baby, and reduce the overwhelmingly clinical feeling. The Maternity department have worked closely with The University of Sunderland and the Sunderland Creatives Agency to give one of the university's art students an opportunity to gain the experience of designing and creating this mural as a live commission working with various stakeholders. This project would not have been possible without support from the combined efforts of the Maternity department, the Maternity Voices Partnership, the Academic Health Science Network NENC, the Sunderland Creatives Agency and the STSFT Innovation Department.

To read the full story of the Maternity Mural please click here.

Shoulder Reduction Bench

Current shoulder relocation requires the sedation of patients. This is normally done completely in the resus room, which is often busy with more serious patients. Therefore, relocation reduction patients often have a longer wait to be seen. The Shoulder Relocation Bench, is a piece of medical equipment that uses an adapted bench instead to manipulate the patients shoulder instead of a resuscitation bed. This has resulted in shorter waiting times and improved patient experience with less cost and risk associated with sedation. Dr. Mohammed, along with Dr. Philip Dowson, both consultants in emergency medicine at Sunderland Royal Hospital, created the shoulder bench to improve the service pathway of patients who present with a shoulder dislocation. The Shoulder Relocation Bench has gone through prototyping and is now being used within the emergency department at The Sunderland Royal Hospital with great success. The Shoulder Bench also won the award for Development of an innovative device or technology at the 2021 Bright Ideas in Health Awards. And was placed on the shortlist for Project of the Year at the 2022 BIONOW awards.

To read the full story of the Shoulder Reduction Bench please click here.

Rise and Shine Game

The Rise and Shine Board Game is a project that was created to encourage mobility in patients with a focus on our elderly community. With mobility in our elderly community a nationwide problem, the idea was to produce a card-based game that requires the player to physically move to take part. This will lead to the mobilisation of our elderly hospital patients and any elderly members of the care community. This will not only help improve the patient’s mobility but help to raise the morale of elderly patients staying in hospitals. The idea and illustrations behind the game have been created by the internationally renowned and local South Shields artist and sculptor Bob Olley. Through personal experience, Bob talked about how a day in hospital can be very long for any patient, and from his and his family’s observations over time that older people can become bored and sedentary during their stay. Bob came up with the idea of Rise and Shine as a way to bring some fun to the day through patients participating in a game. The game itself is being produced by Focus games, who are making physical games to go into wards. Focus games are a company that develops game-based resources to improve engagement in health and social care.

To read the full story of the Rise and Shine Game please click here.


The aim of this project is to give parents an insight into the neonatal unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. It was decided that it would be beneficial for the Neonatal department to have a virtual tour of the unit. It is hoped that being able to familiarise themselves with the environment, may empower a parent and begin to reduce the anxiety associated with entering somewhere unfamiliar.

To read the full story of the Matterport please click here.

Head and Neck Cancer Cookbook

Head & Neck Cancer treatment takes its toll on patients. Having effective treatment can impact their ability to taste, chew, swallow and make saliva, making eating and drinking less enjoyable. To help patients discover ways of enjoying food again, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sunderland have collaborated to publish a cookbook.

To read the full story of the Head and Neck Cancer Cookbook please click here.

Innovation Collaboration with Academia

The Innovation Team have linked together Universities and staff from our Trust on all manner of different projects to best utilise the knowledge and skillsets available in our region's academia, to unlock the most potential from Innovation projects.

To see how some of the region's Universities can assist you in the please feel free to visit their landing pages below. 

Sunderland - Enterprise and Innovation | The University of Sunderland

Durham - Health at Durham - Durham University

Teesside - Research centres | Research | Teesside University , TUCAN STUDIO

Northumbria - Business Services | Northumbria University

If you have any queries about collaborating with academia, please do get in touch via