Published: 01/07/2004, Volume II3, No. 5912 Page 25

The deadline for entering the 2004 HSJ Awards is only two months away. Below we talk to three of last year's winners Mental Health: sponsored by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health Tees and North East Yorkshire trust, the winner of last year's Mental Health category, says its HSJ Award helped its project to gain long-term funding.

The winning project was the Teeswide young onset dementia team, which provides a dedicated one-stop shop for people under the age of 65 with dementia.

The trust's consultant neurophysiologist and project team leader Dr Don Brechin explains why the team was delighted with its award:

'Initially we were a project and had fixed-term funding.We had to get commissioned and the award very much helped in the commissioning process.

'The nature of the service means we have to be person-centred and seek stakeholder views - this is the basis on which we received mainstream funding. The award helped as it added value to that process.

Internally, we knew how important the project was but the award officially recognises that.

'HSJ is very widely read and recognised, ' continues Dr Brechin. 'I think people perceive the awards as being important in the health community.'

He adds: 'The award is a public verification of all the work we put in and has been hugely beneficial. It has made a real difference to the users and carers, too.'

Reducing Health Inequalities: sponsored by the Health Development Agency When most people involved in a project are voluntary members from the community, rewarding the team can be difficult. But last year's winner of the Reducing Health Inequalities category says the HSJ Award did just that.

The National Primary Care Development Team won at the 2003 awards with its healthy communities collaborative project. The scheme involved large teams of voluntary local residents from primary care trusts working together to reduce falls among elderly people.

'The award has given the teams themselves a great deal of pride and self-esteem, ' says HCC director Linda Henry. 'They now see themselves as health professionals even though they are voluntary members of the public.

'One of the main benefits has been to help us gain a profile among health professionals, ' she adds. 'The teams have presented all over the world and they always quote that they have won the HSJ Award, as they see it as an example of the success of the project.'

Ms Henry believes the award has raised the profile of the trust and increased applications to join the scheme.

'We have had loads of interest, ' she says. 'The award is a talking point. It has given the teams confidence.'

Sustainable Development:

sponsored by the King's Fund Whipps Cross University Hospital trust has found its win at the 2003 HSJ Awards has made people take notice of its sustainable private finance initiative project and brought extra funding. The project was set up to develop a new hospital environment with sustainability at its core.

Project director Simon Mills tells how the it has progressed as a result of winning the Sustainable Development award.

'The major benefit of the award has been that it has given us weighting in terms of finding funding.We have since received two sources of funding. The award gave the project kudos and made people see that the initiative was worth rewarding, ' he explains.

'The name of the award especially helped us - we were encouraged to be seen as a role model for the NHS.'

He feels the award proved the project was worth taking forward. 'It made people take it more seriously - it reinforced that the remit had changed and that this was a worthwhile endeavour.'

The trust has received significant interest in the project as a result of the award, including local press coverage and invitations to explain its innovative ideas at health service conferences. 'We have had meetings with other trusts that have expressed interest in the project, ' says Mr Mills. 'The award has meant we are seen as a model of best practice.'