Published: 22/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5915 Page 16

The 4 August deadline for entries to the 2004 HSJ Awards draws close.We talk to one of last year's winners and introduce a new category.For details on how to enter, visit www. awards. hsj. co. uk

NEW: EMERGENCY AND UNSCHEDULED CARE: sponsored by the Improvement Partnership for Ambulance Services

Last month's NHS improvement plan contained the commitment to reduce inappropriate emergency admissions by 10 per cent by 2008.

The new target is just one indication of the increasing importance and profile of emergency and unscheduled care, the reason that HSJ has chosen to launch this award.

National director for emergency access Professor Sir George Alberti will be among the judges of this category.

He feels the award is important because it highlights the fact that the good work is going on in emergency care. 'The service to patients has been transformed over the last two years by frontline staff working exceptionally hard and imaginatively, ' he explains.

'Emergency care has risen - quite rightly - to the top of the NHS agenda and people have responded magnificently. The award reflects this.'

Sir George explains that he would like to see entries demonstrating that the views of the patients and fresh approaches to emergency care have been taken into account.

'First and foremost I would like to see them reflecting the service from the patient's viewpoint. They should focus on what patients want and need.

I should also like to see them moving away from the old silo mentality - with barriers between health and social care, and between primary and secondary care - with a real demonstration of whole system working, ' says Sir George.

'In general we are beginning to move away from the fragmentation that interfered with good, appropriate care and people in the service need to know that innovation, co-operation and listening to the patient are not no-go areas but areas we should focus on.'

Modernisation Agency Improvement Partnership for Ambulance Services programme director Julia Taylor will also be judging the Emergency Care category.

She says she is delighted that HSJ has introduced the new category as 'it provides ambulance trusts with an opportunity to raise their profile and demonstrate to the wider NHS their current scope of good practice.'

Ambulance Service Association chief executive Richard Diment is the category's third judge. For more information about the criteria and entry details for this award, visit www. awards. hsj. co. uk

IMPROVING CARE WITH E-TECHNOLOGY: sponsored by BT

Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust won this category in the 2003 HSJ Awards, as well as being runners up in two other categories.

The winning project, which involved re-engineering the trust's procurement processes, received headline recognition within the organisation as well as attention from international conferences and business schools.

Director of facilities Keith Lilley says the award has meant a lot to the team. 'The award has been a tremendous boost to morale, ' he states. 'It has been great to feel we have received recognition for all the hard work we have put in.'

As well as rewarding the team with greater personal satisfaction in their work, Mr Lilley says the award has helped the trust commercially. 'The project has spawned some home-grown software which we are working with the private sector to market, ' he explains.

'Having the award will help the product to gain greater success in the marketplace.We would really like others to benefit from the experiences we have had.'

'It was an all-round great experience, ' he adds. 'We never thought that we were going to win but it was absolutely fantastic when we did.

'The award was great news for all of us - both individually and also for the trust as a whole.We are looking in the trust to see if there are other projects that warrant an application this year.'