Competition in healthcare is an idea with, at best, lukewarm support. The one exception appears to be a desire to win an HSJ Award.

With more than 1,000 entries and 120 individual organisations shortlisted, an HSJ Award remains the largest and most fiercely fought over accolade in British healthcare.

The commitment of our 73 judges - including NHS deputy chief executive David Flory and commissioning board director for patients and information Tim Kelsey - is driven by the quality of the entries.

‘It is easy and fashionable to denigrate those who have made the sacrifices necessary to get to the top’

In the year that HSJ relaunched as the title “for healthcare leaders” it felt appropriate to introduce two new categories celebrating those at the head of healthcare’s most innovative organisations. This is an era when it is easy and fashionable to denigrate those who have made the sacrifices necessary to get to the top and we hope that HSJ’s new chief executive and clinical leader categories will provide inspiration for the next generation of healthcare chiefs.

Tracking changes

The awards tend to track, and sometimes even run ahead of, changes in the healthcare system. Months before they assume full control, clinical commissioning groups make up all five shortlisted entries in the commissioning category, while the provider trust category is dominated by organisations delivering community-based services.

However, the abiding message of the HSJ Awards is that, despite the instability created by the reorganisation of the commissioning landscape, widespread reconfiguration of the hospital sector and the looming shadow of the Francis report, the NHS and its partners continue to innovate and excel across almost every aspect of healthcare.

The celebration of the NHS at the Olympic opening ceremony may have tugged nostalgically at the nation’s heartstrings - but it is the cutting-edge thinking which is manifest in the HSJ Awards winners that is the real reason the service continues to be held in high regard.

Congratulations to all.

The winners

  • Acute and primary care innovation: St Levan Surgery
  • Chief executive of the year: Katrina Percy, Southern Health Foundation Trust
  • Clinical leader of the year: Paul Grundy, University Hospital Southampton Trust
  • Commissioning organisation of the year: Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Enhancing care with data and information management: NHS London
  • Good corporate citizenship: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Foundation Trust
  • Improving care with technology: Oxford University Hospitals Trust
  • Innovation in mental health: Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust
  • Improved partnerships between health and local government: The Merton, Kingston and Sutton Multisystemic Therapy Team
  • Managing long term conditions: Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Patient centred care: The London Pathway
  • Patient safety: The Ipswich Hospital Trust
  • Primary care and community service redesign: GP Care
  • Progressive research culture: University Hospital Southampton Foundation Trust
  • Provider trust of the year: Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Quality and productivity: NHS Blood and Transplant
  • Secondary care service redesign: University Hospital of North Staffordshire Trust
  • Staff engagement: Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust
  • Workforce: York Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust

HSJ Awards 2012 - cutting-edge thinkers triumph