Staff plans to improve patient care get green light at KGH Dragons’ Den

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

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 vibrations 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 (Ginger spice), Rachel Glover (Baby Spice), Kelly Donnelly (Posh Spice), Meera Chandarana (Scary Spice), and Loren Fd (Sporty Spice).

Team Sonon

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 patient 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

Alan Burns

Chairman of KGH and NGH

Kevin Rogers

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

All Things Business


KGH Chief Executive Simon Weldon said: “I was privileged to follow the ideas from our previous Dragons’ Den and see 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 sponsors System C and the Liaison Group. Anyone who wants to sponsor future events can contact nicci.briggs@nhs.net.