At a time when primary care was in turmoil, it is a credit to the sector that so many PCTs found the time to put in some high-quality entries

'Vision, passion and commitment.' 'This is the NHS leading by example.' 'A fabulous piece of work that empowered both patients and staff.'

Every year the HSJ Awards judges are bowled over by the energy and imagination shown by all the people and organisations who enter. This year - despite all the tight budgets and furrowed brows - we have actually increased the size of the awards. In its 25th anniversary year we had 920 entries, well up on last year. We also packed more than 1,000 people into our new venue, the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, for the ceremony on 30 November. In a year like this, the NHS should be never more proud of celebrating excellence and spreading recognition.

We added two new categories this year - Excellence in Cancer Care and Information-Based Decision Making, and were pleased to see them attract large numbers of entries.

And at a time when primary care was in turmoil, it is a credit to the sector that so many PCTs found the time to put in some high-quality entries, not least in the Primary Care Organisation of the Year category. A special mention must go to Croydon PCT, which swept up four separate awards for its virtual wards initiative, which although relatively new is showing huge potential.

As ever, this supplement represents a valuable guide to what some of the best teams and organisations are working on throughout the NHS. I would urge you to contact those entries that you think you have something to learn from, whether winners or finalists. Those projects chosen for the Secretary of State's Award should be a particularly good guide to what is considered important and exciting at the very top of government.

All that remains is to thank our sponsors, our judges who gave up so much time to take part - and the King's Fund for the use of its facilities for the judging sessions.

The launch of the HSJ Awards 2007 is not far away; we hope you take inspiration from this supplement and start thinking about your own entry.

Nick Edwards, editor, HSJ