News in Brief

News in brief: NHS Dorset seeks digital engagement volunteers, audio guides in the South West, green schemes in Hertfordshire and London

What are some of the health tech stories to catch our eye recently from across the NHS? Let’s take a look in our latest news in brief.

NHS Dorset seeks volunteers for Digital Public Engagement Group 

NHS Dorset has shared that it is on the lookout for volunteers to join its Digital Public Engagement Group, with the aim of helping to develop digital health and care services.

The DPEG is designed to provide advice on the system-wide development of Dorset’s digital health and care technologies, services and communications, guiding approaches to public engagement on digital health and care, and the safe digitisation of services.

The group will work alongside a range of health and care partners on projects including maternity, women’s health, cancer, and long-term conditions. Meetings are held twice per month, either online or face-to-face, offering opportunities for members to help “shape and improve” Dorset’s digital health and care services.

The closing date to volunteer is 1 May, and more information can be found here.

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust to install energy efficient lighting across hospital site

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has announced that it will be installing energy efficient LED lighting in every ward, theatre, clinic and office at its Lister Hospital site in Stevenage, following a government grant of £1.1 million through the NHS National Energy Efficiency Fund.

The trust notes that the LED lights will “consume around half the amount of electricity compared to conventional fluorescent lighting”, with deputy chair Karen McConnell adding: “One of several projects we’re progressing to decarbonise our hospital sites, this is an important step forward in working towards a greener, more sustainable Trust. As a provider of healthcare and a large employer in the local area we take our responsibility seriously.”

Other green projects in place at the trust include switching the internal vehicle fleet to electric, and expanding the electric vehicle charger programme for staff.

NHS audio guides launched across hospitals in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Bristol

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust have partnered with the Sight Loss Council to develop NHS audio guides for blind and visually impaired people, with the aim of improving accessibility in hospitals across the region.

The 12 guides have been created using artificial intelligence voice-overs and enable people to access the emergency departments on both hospital sites along with ophthalmology and eye screening services by providing “clear, step-by step instructions” to aid navigation.

Matt Holdaway, chief nurse and director of quality at Gloucestershire Hospitals, said: “We know that hospitals can be difficult for many of us to find our way around, and we hope that these new guides will make it easier and reduce the anxiety for people who are blind or visually impaired. We continue to improve the accessibility of our services, and these innovations, aided by low cost, high quality AI technology, means we can explore different approaches and far more quickly. We hope to expand on this work further in the coming months.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ pilots e-cargo bike scheme

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has run a pilot scheme with an e-cargo bike to “test whether it will help staff beat London traffic to get to patients faster”, whilst also reducing carbon emissions from travel.

Through the trial, the trust worked with e-cargo bike supplier EAV with staff provided with on-road cycle training sessions, and nine members of the trust’s @home service used the e-cargo bike to visit patients in their homes.

Harriet Slade, deputy service lead for the @home service at Guy’s and St Thomas’, commented: “It’s great to have taken part in this trial as it could mean our staff are able to reach patients homes faster and provide the vital treatment they need, while using alternative, sustainable modes of travel that improve our carbon footprint.

Speaking on the benefits, Tim Le Rougetel, sustainable travel officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’, added: “E-cargo bikes can travel through areas restricted to general motor traffic including low traffic neighbourhoods and parks and open spaces. There are no parking restrictions or permits required. It also has up to 150kg storage capacity – more than enough to fit the @home service equipment including bulky items like commodes.”