Take a look at last year’s winners to help you put together a winning entry

2009 Winner - The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust

Providers wishing to emulate the achievement of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust, last year’s winners of the HSJ Award for Acute Organisation of the Year, should be getting themselves ready to narrate the persuasive story of their own journey of transformation.

“There needs to be clear evidence of real change over a period of several years,” says Paul Robinson, head of market intelligence at CHKS and member of the judging panel. “Be it patient safety, quality and productivity or some other issue, the agenda driving the journey should be joined up centrally, pulling the whole organisation together rather than focusing on just a few departments.”

It is equally important that the change the organisation has been implementing is replicable.

“There does have to be a ‘wow’ factor,” adds Mr Robinson. “The winner of this award is going to be the kind of provider to which others will want to send their own staff. It won’t only be the energetic culture that will impress them when they get there. There will be a management team prepared to lead from the front, informed by a strong evidence base and well versed in and prepared to put cutting edge methods into practice.”

The first opportunity for any aspiring organisation to impress the judges with its tale of transformation is at the submission stage. But approaching this as though it was preparing papers for the executive board would be a mistake.

Mr Robinson says: “This should be a convincing, punchy, joined-up account of the journey they have been on, describing the how and why of organisational change, the process of engagement and the contributions that managers and clinicians have made.”

Providers making the shortlist have a further opportunity to impress the judging panel during their visit.

“In terms of describing how change has been taking place, range, depth and consistency certainly come in to play,” says Mr Robinson. “We expect to get around the organisation but that doesn’t have to be physically. It can be in the range of people we are meeting so we have a chance to hear what everybody thinks, from chief executive to frontline clinician and service user. The great thing about the visits, however, is the range of approaches that organisations decide to take. We don’t tell them what to do and there is no one right way of hosting a visit.”

The trust’s winning entry demonstrated a well integrated and systematic service transformation approach with good links between cost and quality measures. Leadership got the message out across the organisation about what they were trying to achieve and successfully engaged with staff.

“The inspiration didn’t finish there and was to be found in both of the highly commended entries, from South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust and West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust,” says Mr Robinson. “West Hertfordshire’s attitude, that great change can be achieved regardless of the starting point, would serve any provider trust well. South Devon, meanwhile, is a great example of a trust working with their health community partners to put people and not money first.”

What judges want

  • Indicators of high quality, patient centred care
  • A clear strategy
  • Excellent engagement between managers and clinicians, with demonstrable unity of purpose, and collaboration to drive service improvements
  • Good people development throughout the organisation, with leadership at all levels, and a culture where staff feel valued and respected and everyone understands the organisation’s goals
  • Use of management and clinical information to drive improvement
  • Proof of a culture which encourages innovation at all levels
  • Real involvement of patients and the wider local community in shaping services. This should demonstrate an understanding of health inequality issues in the catchment population
  • Progress on the key public service agreement targets  
  • Strong financial management that supports the organisation’s strategic goals
  • Partnership working with other organisations, both in the NHS and outside it
  • High performance on key access targets including A&E, outpatient and inpatient times
  • Evidence of long term strategic planning  
  • Evidence of clinical governance

Sponsored by: CHKS