Supported by Skills for Health


  • Mike Pyrah, chief executive, East Cheshire PCT
  • Professor Bernard Crump, chief executive, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement
  • John Rogers, chief executive, Skills for Health

Winner NHS West Midlands

Judges liked the innovative partnership work, links with public health and equality agendas and excellent outcomes that gave this educational facility project a 'wow' factor capable of attracting young people to healthcare

HealthTec opened in January 2006 with the immediate aim of promoting more vocational education in south Birmingham schools and is open to pupils from year eight upwards. The project is the result of a multi-agency partnership between Birmingham and the Black Country SHA, Birmingham city council, The Oaks Collegiate of secondary schools in the city, and local hospitals and schools.

It is designed to appeal to all pupils from the most gifted to those who struggle to engage with conventional classroom learning and stand to benefit from more vocationally oriented studies. On offer are a series of authentic health and social care settings simulating everyday experiences - the back of an ambulance, an accident and emergency bay, an older person's living room - that follow the path taken by a fictitious character who suffers a heart attack.

The interactive centre combines vocational and practical skills alongside academic knowledge and introduces pupils to some of the latest healthcare technologies. In conjunction with this experience work is under way with the educational awards body Edexcel to develop new curricula in science, health and social care and sports studies.

HealthTec ensures that youngsters, especially those from deprived and under-represented groups within health and social care, are encouraged to explore employment opportunities in the NHS. It also equips pupils with information about healthy lifestyles and patient choice.

The project has already delivered education for nearly 1,000 young people. Students from eight schools have attended the centre and HealthTec staff are working with public sector partners to develop a framework of work placements and mentoring opportunities. The centre opened thanks to an initial grant from the SHA and support from sponsors Bristol Maid. With local schools paying for their sessions, HealthTec aims to be self sustaining within three years.

HealthTec, contact

Highly commended Department of Health and Royal College of Radiologists

The radiology integrated training initiative (R-ITI) impressed with its ambitious clinical education project to develop a new approach to training radiologists in the UK

The radiology integrated training initiative combines proven traditional teaching methods with cutting edge e-learning to give radiologists an integrated training package. The core curriculum is instantly accessible via an interactive electronic learning platform.

The model is a response to the NHS need for more trained radiologists and a recognition that traditional training models cannot expand to match the required increase in numbers. The initiative has helped increase trainee numbers without placing further pressure on existing resources.

Three academies in Leeds, Norwich and Plymouth deliver the new approach. Chief medical officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson described R-ITI as 'the most positive development in medical education in 20 years'.

Radiology integrated training initiative, contact

Finalist Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Trust

In partnership with Hull University the trust set up a virtual reality training package that simulates a life-size radiotherapy suite, complete with linear accelerator, treatment couch and patient

The virtual reality project was a response to the international shortage of therapy radiographers. Looking at the virtual environment through stereoscopic glasses, clinical students are able to learn how to control the accelerator using adapted controls from a real machine. This overcomes those difficulties associated with the limited time available to students for learning or practice outside of clinical placements.

After using the package, 93 per cent of first-year students reported an improved understanding of clinical technique.

Virtual reality, contact

Finalist Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust

More than 800 staff have taken up this training programme as part of an attempt to save£30m and improve service quality

Leeds Teaching Hospital trust's performance improvement team set out to train 1,000 people from key services across the local health community in practical service improvement tools as part of a bid to save £30m and enhance quality for patients

A three-day rating programme based around an eight-stage route map inspires staff to engage colleagues in change using diagnostic tools and develops creative solution thinking. A practical toolkit on CD-ROM supports the training room activity. To date more than 800 staff have had Routemap training plus a further 250 in statistical process control. The next target is to train 3,000 people in service improvement.

Train 1000, contact

Finalist University Hospitals Leicester Trust

Service users' perspectives are built into this support programme for staff who work with older people to help improve their experience

The older people's education and practice development team provides educational and practical support for staff to improve skills, knowledge and competences taken from the national service framework for older people. The team has both a corporate and a clinical role.

Feedback from older people has been used to directly influence their care across the trust and improve their experience of hospital. Work with clinical teams on a one-to-one and local basis focuses on sustainable change and is supported by valuable contributions from partners in the community and voluntary sector. Older people's perspectives are also built in to corporate training materials.

Older people's education and practice development team, contact