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National prize for hospital worker

An innovation scout responsible for helping bright ideas become a reality at West Suffolk Hospital has been awarded a runners-up prize in a national competition.

Library and knowledge services manager Laura Wilkes has been given the accolade in the marketing category of the National Library Quality Assurance Framework Sally Hernando Awards for Innovation.

It comes in recognition of her work as an “innovation scout”, which sees her help individuals develop ideas for improvements or new ways of working.

Since becoming a scout in 2012, Laura has helped drive through a range of different initiatives, giving legal advice on patents, intellectual property and copyright. She has also played a key role in organising a “Dragons” event, which is scheduled for March and will see staff pitch their ideas to members of the hospital’s executive team with the aim of attracting funding to help develop them further.

“I really enjoy working as an innovation scout, which I fit in alongside my day job in the library,” said Laura, who won £150 to spend in the department as her prize.

“I find the ideas which people come up with – and the steps you need to take to protect those creative processes – really interesting.

“I’ve come across some fascinating innovations since taking up the role. This includes new pathways for stroke care and inventions for fixing oxygen bottles to beds as well as the Rose Vital tray, which one of our healthcare assistants came up with to help patients clean their hands and get a good night’s sleep.

“It’s true that often the simplest things can make the biggest difference, so I’m always keen to hear my colleague’s ideas and, wherever possible, help turn them into a reality.”

Assistant librarian Beverly Walsh and technician James Allen were also presented certificates of recognition in the awards for schemes to create a medical terminology course and a database to help with project management.

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