An invention that helps throat cancer patients to speak has won first prize at the national NHS Innovation Awards.
The Sunderland Air Pressure Meter allows doctors to choose the right prosthetic speech valve for patients who have had their larynx removed.
Until this breakthrough, speech and language therapists relied on trial and error to select the right valve.
The meter was developed by Regional Medical Physics Department (RMPD) staff based at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The device is the result of five years of research and development, and will now be sold to hospitals around the country.
It beat 17 other regional finalists to the award, which will be presented to consultant medical physicist who led the RMPD team, Bill Allan, by the Health Minister responsible for innovation, on Monday.
Mr Allan said: "The valves are used by the speech and language therapists on patients who have had a total laryngectomy.
"Using modern technology, we can put a small prosthetic valve in the oesophagus that allows them to speak.
"Our device measures the air pressure and helps choose a valve that is right for the patient. It also helps us monitor a patient's progress."