Published: 14/07/2005, Volume II5, No. 115 Page 22

With just six days to go to enter the 2005 HSJ Awards, we profile two new categories that recognise achievement at organisational level

NEW CATEGORY PRIMARY CARE ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Dr Foster

The HSJ Awards for 2005 see the introduction of two categories which seek to recognise excellence at organisational level. Both move beyond the parameters of projectbased categories to acknowledge high-quality performance across a range of organisational indicators.

Edna Robinson, newly appointed national lead for NHS Networks and former Salford primary care trust chief executive, will be a member of the judging panel. 'The awards provide wonderful encouragement for celebrating all the good things that happen in the NHS, ' says Ms Robinson. 'This new category offers a great opportunity for showcasing examples of best practice.' Introducing new awards to celebrate organisational excellence reflects the ambition at HSJ to build on the awards' success.

Ms Robinson says: 'The award is a great vehicle for organisational managers to show their clinical teams how much they value them.

Nothing says that more clearly than nominating a project for a national competition. Primary care organisations are known for their good work at a regional level, but taking things a step further and putting them under the public spotlight really boosts morale.' Primary care communities work in complex environments and have often found it difficult getting recognition for this. Highlighting successful management innovations and practices within this arena is another plus of the awards.

Among the criteria that entries will be judged against are: working towards objectives set out in the public health white paper, partnership-working both in the NHS and outside it, and evidencebased commissioning.

Involvement of patients and the local community and the development of leadership are two criteria of particular interest to Ms Robinson: 'The awards are a platform for primary care organisations to demonstrate best board-level practice and the often underrepresented role of nonexecutive board members, ' she says.

'The award offers a chance to raise the profile of good leadership and leaders - especially at the clinical level, ' Ms Robinson adds.

NEW CATEGORY ACUTE HEALTHCARE ORGANISATION OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by CHKS

This award is designed to recognise those acute care organisations that can demonstrate excellence in all that they do.

The judging panel will include Professor Helen Bevan, most recently interim director of the Modernisation Agency. 'Specific improvement projects make a big contribution because they make things better for specific groups of patients, ' she says. 'However, we need to start recognising and honouring those organisations that do not just get projects right but get everything right across the board. It means that we are no longer talking about a few hundred patients getting a better service, but hundreds of thousands. That is why this new category is so important.

'I very much like the assessment criteria in the acute category, ' adds Professor Bevan. 'If I were a patient, knowing that those things were being done well would inspire confidence in my local service.' The award will also recognise the complexity of the challenge that acute services managers face as they strive for quality. Entries will be judged against a number of exacting standards. These include progress on key public service agreement targets, engagement between managers and clinical staff, partnership working and community involvement.

'The kind of organisations that will do well in this category are already monitoring their own performance against these criteria, ' says Professor Bevan. 'The challenge lies in drawing out and promoting the excellence.'

Other elements appearing in the assessment criteria for the new award include evidence of forward planning and good people development throughout the organisation that demonstrates leadership at all levels.

Professor Bevan says: 'The difference between an organisation doing well and an exceptional one comes down to the extent to which they plan to achieve strategic aims.' 'The acute organisation of the year, ' Professor Bevan continues, 'will set its sights on achieving more than just financial viability or a three-star rating - it will be concerned with getting rid of waiting times and waste, with meeting the needs of the local population.'