2016 Winners

The Special Contribution to Healthcare Science Awardcontribution-to-healthcare-science

The scientific team at Public Health England working on Ebola

The team award is for the healthcare scientists who did not hesitate when asked to provide diagnostic services in field laboratories during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

Public Health England was asked to provide Level 4 containment laboratories in several locations across the country, they were expecting some basic facilities but found in several cases that there was nothing at all and that it had to be built from scratch, with everyone pulling together.  What they did had a big impact.  They reduced diagnostic times from days to hours.  They were able to provide other services that helped in patient’s recovery and they saved many lives with their unselfish efforts.


 Healthcare Science Patient and Public Participation patient-and-public-participation

Malcolm Robinson, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS FT 

PPI is a more difficult ask for laboratory scientists who rarely get to see patients in person – and that’s what makes the winner tonight so remarkable.

This story starts with Harvey Baldwin, a cheeky 7 year old boy with leukaemia who was being treated at Worthing Hospital.  Could Harvey visit the labs that processed his many blood samples? Chief biomedical scientist Malcolm Robinson agreed. Harvey sat there, absolutely transfixed, watching his own blood going through the machine. The lab coat he wore swamped him so overnight, the chief of service ran up a mini lab coat from discarded NHS sheets.

Then Malcolm got the idea of bringing these young patients who endure frequent blood tests into the labs on a more regular basis.  Sadly Harvey – who would have made a great biomedical scientist – died, but Harvey’s Gang is his legacy.  Youngsters come into the labs, they get a special lab coat (not run up by the chief of service) and other goodies. Having been there, youngsters are less frightened about giving samples, and having explained how the lab works, parents are more reassured.

For the healthcare scientists involved, the experience of Harvey’s Gang has been transformative. ‘It reconnects us with our patients’ says Malcolm, ‘and it’s also meant that we’ve made changes to our services which ensure better care for our patients’.  Harvey’s Gang is now being rolled out not just in other UK units but across the world with places as diverse as the United Arab Emirates and Tennessee wanting to emulate it.


Healthcare Scientist STEM Engagementstem-engagement

Dr Elaine Cloutman-Green, Clinical Scientist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS FT

Elaine works infection control at GOSH and was inspired to go into science by a scientist who came to talk to her school.  She confesses to being frustrated by the information about science out in the media and rather than sit back and moan wanted to do something about it.  Her first encounter was with schoolchildren from very disadvantaged schools who had never encountered a real scientist. And it was so exciting to do she says,

Since then she has devised brilliant hands on events including Zombie Island and for the Reach Out for Healthcare science programme, activities for students which involves them wearing full Ebola PPE kit. In 2014 she participated in the Wellcome Trust’s ‘I’m a Scientist get me out here’ programme and devised a hugely popular stand for the Science4U event.  She uses multiple methods across many audiences.

Elaine confesses to being a geek, a frustrated actress, a science fiction fan and to wanting to develop a top trumps game involving microbes.  What she does is infectious – which is appropriate – thoughtful and hugely engaging.


Improving Quality and Efficiency through Workforce Transformation quality-and-efficiency

The Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Service, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT

The Unique Selling Point for the service is that it has molecular diagnostics embedded in pathology or for those of you less schooled in lab services, it’s a one stop laboratory shop – and it’s highly unusual, indeed it’s unique.

Let me explain.  Some samples require more than one sort of diagnostic platform, next generation sequencing for instance as well as more traditional pathology testing.  So these samples have to be shuttled between different labs leading to delays for patients and extra costs.  Here all the expertise is in one place. It has a stellar reputation in tumour diagnostics undertaking advanced molecular diagnostics for over 60 hospitals.

The service has been developed by Molecular Pathology Operations Manager, Brendan O’Sullivan who explains the three key points to its success. First, employing staff members with a range of different advanced skills, second the input of the business unit at the Trust which has been essential to financing development and lastly constant horizon scanning and contacts with industry so they can spot upcoming technologies and get ahead of the curve. But he was keen to stress that this is not a technology led service, it’s a service delivery led one, headed by a clinician.  Above all Brendan praises the contribution of staff who he says consistently function above and beyond expectation and three of those staff are here tonight to collect the award, please welcome Matthew Smith, Claire Swift and Frances Hughes.


Healthcare Scientist Provider Organisationhealthcare-scientist-provider-org

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

The Trust Board, Chief Executive, Peter Homa and senior team have a keen understanding of the vital role scientists play within operational healthcare and in research, innovation, development and transformation.  In particular, Dave Selwyn the clinical director is a fantastic advocate and transmits his appreciation of the role scientists play throughout the hospital clinical and management leads.

The Trust has not only supported a number of key scientific initiatives such as: the Centre for Healthcare Equipment and Technology and the vanguard East Midlands Radiology PACS project (EMRAD) but has also ensured that scientists play an active role in the Trust committees and organisational planning.

There is strong support from the Chief Executive Peter Homa for healthcare science events, networks and professional activities as well as for their in national/international scientific work, and STEM/PPI ambassador roles. Recently, a Scientific and Technology Pathway has been established along with a Chief Scientist post.  I want to quote you something that Peter Homa has said ‘Scientists are the oxygen of the organisation.  You don’t know they’re there but you’d die without them.


Innovation in Scientific Servicesinnovation

Sharon Bamber, Clinical Scientist at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS FT

Sharon is an infection specialist and tacked the problem that increasing antibiotic resistance has meant more and more people need intravenous antibiotics and usually a hospital stay.

If you have osteomyelitis, that could mean up to a  6 week stay. It drives patients mad and ties up expensive hospital beds when guidelines are clear it could be delivered in the community.  Using Better Care Fund money, Sharon developed and drove this project, which is unique in its integration of primary and second care,.

Sharon led a multi-disciplinary team, engaging GPs and community nurses and providing them with specialised support.  The project only started last year but over 400 patients have already been treated at home, saving 3,226 treatment days already. Using careful assessment the project is now beginning to ensure that appropriate patients go directly on to the home IV use rather than be admitted and then go home.


Rising Star (Bioinformatics) rising-star-bioinformatics

Dr Samuel Urwin, Trainee Healthcare Scientist at Northern Training Consortium

Sam went into bioinformatics shortly after it was recognised, following his PhD in biomechanics. As one of its first students, Sam has been a trail-blazer in helping this new field become established as a branch of healthcare science.  Problem solving and code writing are his twin passions and he is currently using past data sets of the biochemistry and outcomes of 12,000 patients to validate NHS algorithms for the treatment of acute kidney injury.

He is also working on the analysis of data from registers of three new cardiology procedures to provide evidence for a NICE review.


Rising Star (Life Sciences) rising-star-life-sciences

Dr Lisa Ayers, Clinical Scientist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS FT

Lisa has been a clinical scientist for 10 years but has already proved herself to be an outstanding researcher, collaborator and teacher.  She was one of the very first healthcare scientists to be awarded a CSO NIHR Fellowship in 2009 which allowed her to complete her PhD whilst still working as a clinical scientist in immunology. She’s now obtained a second NIHR Fellowship.

In the last 2 years, she’s led a ground-breaking study called Evarest which aims to improve the predictive value of stress echo tests using blood markers.  It’s a multi-centre study that’s already recruiting from 6 hospitals.  Developing these collaborations has laid the foundations for future research involving scientists, clinicians and nurses across multiple trusts. She’s a committed STEM ambassador, supervises masters and PhD students at both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes, and is one of the first qualified equivalence assessors for the Academy of Healthcare Science.

She’s a perfect example of what a hardworking, committed, caring and super bright young scientist can achieve for science and for patients by working in the NHS.


Rising Star (Physics & Engineering)rising-star-physics

Antony Higgins, Clinical Scientist at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust

Anthony Higgins graduated from his STP training in medical physics in 2014.  His MSc thesis was published in the Journal of Radiological Protection, his field’s most prestigious journal, which in itself is quite a start to your career.. He presented that paper at the Society for Radiological Protection’s annual conference earning him the accolade of young professional of the year.

He’s recently planned, organised and run a major incident exercise in Leeds involving fire, ambulance and police, simulating a radiological release.  He brought a unique insight to this –  his out of work experience as a qualified first aid commander for the British Red Cross. He says he loves the way the academic elements of his job can be applied to making a difference to patients.


Rising Star (Physiological Sciences) rising-star-physiological

Stuart Belringer, Specialist Cardiac Physiologist at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS FT

Stuart Belringer from the Royal United Hospital Bath is a cardiac physiologist from a hospital which is celebrated for its cardiac imaging but does not yet have its planned implantable device service in place. That’s coming within a year.

The imaging route would have involved easily arranged local training but Stuart could see that it was the arrhythmia pathway where his skills would be most needed when the service begins. Getting placements for training in other hospitals out of area was a nightmare, but still he plugged on.  And as he was the first cardiac STP on this pathway in his area, there was no support network out there.

Every step of the way he’s had knock back and barriers but he’s done it in order to enable his team to hit the ground running.  He is proactive, bright, utterly determined and has a superb rapport with patients said his nominator who adds that in 30 years she’s never seen a trainee like him.  He will definitely be a leader in cardiac physiology services in the future