2008 Winner: London NHS Diagnostic Service with Croydon Federation

“Before putting ourselves forward for the HSJ Awards, we spent time as a team considering to what extent the Diagnostics in the Community project had moved existing services forward for our patients,” says family practitioner Agnelo Fernandes.

“In the end what prompted us to enter were the barriers that we felt we had been able to break down as a result of our collaborative approach to delivering a faster service closer to home.”

It was a decision the judging panel welcomed. They praised the service not only for the choice and benefits it offered patients but also for the scale of innovation behind the redesign, the rapid implementation and the strength of the evaluation and quality assurance. Added to this came significant acknowledgement of the GP leadership and partnership features driving the work.

Getting ready for the presentation to the judges was also a team affair. Rather than a number of speakers each talking about their contribution to the process, the decision was made for just Dr Fernandes to make a presentation, while others made themselves available for questions.

“One piece of advice we would definitely offer about this stage in the process is to keep it straightforward and honest,” says Dr Fernandes.

“Don’t make the mistake of pushing the hard sell. It would be wrong thinking this is Dragons’ Den or The Apprentice. Better to talk openly about what worked and what didn’t, what you learned as you made progress and how you might do things differently next time around.”

What judges want

  • Improving patient access to diagnosis, treatment and care services
  • Implementing choice at the point of referral
  • Enhancing the patient experience
  • Improvement in clinical outcomes
  • Increasing public confidence
  • Tackling health inequalities by improving access for hard to reach groups