A WASH basket has inspired an award-winning idea to improve patient care in Bradford.

Consultant ophthalmologist Dr Rachel Pilling came up with a time-saving idea while sorting out her daughter’s laundry habit at home.

Along with Daniel Wadsworth, deputy head of patient access at Bradford Royal Infirmary, she developed a project encouraging staff not to put off 15 second jobs that could take much longer if left until the next day.

The pair were crowned the winners of the first Sir Peter Carr Award run by NHS Improvement, the body responsible for overseeing and supporting hospital trusts, aimed at helping and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to make improvements for patients.

As a prize, they get £30,000 to invest in their professional development.

Dr Pilling said: “My daughter has a habit of putting all her clothes, dirty or clean, into her wash basket. This then makes extra work for me sorting them out.

"I told her that if she just spent 15 seconds sorting them properly in the first place, it would save me at least 30 minutes later which I could devote to doing something better – spending more time with her for example."

She added: “The essence of the project was all about how we can make every day a great day; what if someone showed you how, if were able to spend an extra 15 seconds on a task, you could save someone else 30 minutes further down the line? Using the 15 seconds – 30 minutes model, we can all identify ways of reducing frustration at work, improve job satisfaction and provide a better patient experience.”

The pair will use the prize money to attend courses, coaching academies and health care conferences, as well as making a visit to leading US hospital The Virginia Mason Institute in Seattle which is world-renowned for its approach to patient experience and quality improvement.

Mr Wadsworth said: “Rachel and I have worked together for a few years now and we both have a passion for making improvements that will benefit our patients.

"Winning the award will allow us to develop our skills further, enabling us to make bigger and better improvements for patients.”

“I am really looking forward to being able to attend courses, conferences and making a trip to the Virginia Mason Institute which will deepen our knowledge of quality improvement and patient experience. Without the award, these opportunities would have been out of our reach.”

Sir Peter Carr, who has championed improving care in the NHS for more than 25 years, said: “This award is an innovative attempt to encourage continuous improvement at all levels in the NHS. I am delighted that the first group of award winners and runners up were of such a high standard – it really shows the level of innovation and improvement going on within the NHS at the front line.

“I hope this award provides a platform for all the finalists to develop themselves, to inspire others and - most importantly - to transform care for patients. I am looking forward to seeing their progress.”