This year’s Patient Safety Awards highlight those organisations which are going above and beyond every day to deliver exceptional patient care and safety.

Once again it has been a pleasure hearing from all the judges and finalists involved in the Patient Safety Congress Awards. We heard from scores of passionate, committed and visionary people who outlined a wealth of work to drive up safety in healthcare.

Each of our winners stands in their own right and you can read summaries of their award-winning work by following the links below. But taken together, this year’s awards highlight some recurring themes.

First, patient safety in an age of austerity. A number of this year’s winners cost nothing but delivered much. The winner of the Procurement category, Lymphoedma Network in Wales, delivered £135,000 in savings for a zero outlay. An innovative scheme to recruit volunteer A-level students to improve dementia care similarly cost nothing and has reaped huge rewards.

Safety does not have to cost the earth.

Second, patient safety and quality improvement. All our winning entries needed to verify their claims and provide evidence. It was striking this year just how many of the winners had taken a formal QI approach, using an established methodology.

The Health Foundation funded at least two of our winners – medicines management in Portsmouth and standards in care homes in Essex. Something is going right here.

Third, Lancashire, which generated four out of 18 winners. Each was a high-quality entrant that deserved to win. Is this evidence of a patient safety culture emerging in the North West? Or does the region have something to teach the rest of the country about entering awards?

So with congratulations to all our winners, we hope you find their stories as inspiring as we did.

Alastair McLellan is editor of HSJ and Jenni Middleton is editor of Nursing Times