NHS Parliamentary Awards categories and criteria

We are looking for outstanding nominees who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to how the NHS provides care for patients. Nominees could be an individual, a team, or an entire organisation, and they don’t have to be working within the NHS – these awards are for anyone working for or with the NHS towards the shared goal of delivering health and high quality care, now and for future generations.

MPs are asked to nominate in the categories listed below. In all but the Lifetime Achievement Award, the questions to be answered on the nomination form are:

  • What has been done? – detail the exceptional work to benefit patients and/or staff.
  • What was the impact? – detail how the work has had a positive impact on patients and/or staff, including particular groups where applicable and to what extent (including statistics or case studies).
  • What happens next? – detail how this work will be developed further, or best practice shared locally, regionally, or nationally to benefit more patients and/or staff.

Nominations open on 29 February 2024 and close at midnight on 19 April 2024.

The 2024 award categories are:

The Excellence in Healthcare Award

The top causes of early death for the people of England are: heart disease and stroke, cancer, respiratory conditions, dementias, and self-harm. This award recognises individuals or teams who go above and beyond to improve outcomes and experiences for patients living with and beyond these major health conditions or work to prevent them.

This could be through:

  • establishing a new process to identify and prevent major conditions earlier;
  • developing effective ways to share and spread awareness of a major health condition;
  • working with patients and their families to supporting people to stay well and recover in their own homes, with the right support in place in their communities.

The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award

To the individual or team that has worked across organisational boundaries to develop new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in their community.

This could be through:

  • developing new and effective kinds of services for those experiencing or at risk of crisis;
  • working with local partners to put in place effective prevention strategies that promote better mental health;
  • working with their communities to address stigma and help design services for those who are hardest to reach, reducing health inequalities;
  • engaging effectively with young people who have needed mental health support during the pandemic.

The Future NHS Award

To a person or team that has successfully trialled and embedded change to make better use of data and digital technology, provide more convenient access to services and information for patients and improve support for staff.

This award seeks to highlight individuals, teams and organisations that are successfully embracing the opportunities that come from advances in medical technology, data and connectivity.

This could be through:

  • developing ways of using wearable devices and apps to monitor patients or support them to manage their own conditions;
  • harnessing technology to make their services more connected, efficient and effective, freeing up staff time and resources to improve patient care;
  • using data to provide analysis and evidence which helps professionals better target services to prevent ill health or the need for crisis care;
  • embracing new practices based on cutting-edge research to improve care for patients, management of staff, or cost effectiveness of treatment.

The Nursing and Midwifery Award

We see the best of the NHS when its professionals are putting patients at the heart of care, engaging with patients and families, listening to their views, and ensuring people are treated with care and compassion.

This award is for any nurse or midwife who has used their skills to ensure that patients experience care and compassion.

This could be through:

  • providing excellent clinical care to patients.
  • changing how healthcare staff communicate with patients and their families.
  • driving improvements to hospital environments, or maternity wards, to make them more pleasant places for patients and their loved ones.
  • identifying ways that trusts can address health inequalities in maternity care to ensure better outcomes for patients.
  • ensuring that patients and their families are well-informed and empowered to play an active role in deciding what type of care they receive.
  • guiding patients and families through important conversations around vaccination.

The Health Equalities Award

The NHS aims to provide accessible, high-quality and safe healthcare to everyone, no matter where they live or their background and characteristics.

We know there is more we can do to prevent or delay ill health and trat people quicker. Teams across the country are working hard to address health inequalities, which impact people from ethnic minority groups, people living in deprived areas, LGBT+ people, women and people with disabilities, amongst others.

This award is for an individual or organisation that helps the NHS to do its bit by bringing together different groups and organisations to reduce health inequalities and prevent ill health in their community.

This could be through:

  • developing new services for groups that traditionally struggle to access the NHS;
  • working with partners to plan services across an area to improve the health and wellbeing of those who suffer poorer outcomes – rather than picking up the pieces afterwards;
  • finding new ways to identify and tackle unwarranted variation;
  • using data to reduce health inequalities.

The Excellence in Primary Care and Community Care Award

Primary care services are the ‘front door’ of the NHS and are often our first port of call when we feel ill. Primary care includes all staff working in general practice, optometry, community pharmacy and dentistry.

There are also a wide range of professionals working in community health services including community nurses, allied health professions as well as health visitors, family planning or sexual health clinical staff, who are pivotal in supporting people to stay well an independent at home, preventing unnecessary admissions to hospitals and ensuring that people can return home safely after being in hospital.

As the needs of patients and the wider NHS evolves, so does the role of these professionals, and this award seeks to recognise practitioners and their teams in primary or community care that are working with patients to help them stay healthy and avoid long stays in hospital or being admitted in the first place.

This could be through:

  • bringing in different kinds of professionals and/or working with voluntary groups to broaden the range of services in their local practice or area.
  • working closely with colleagues in hospitals and the third sector to plan patient care better.
  • joining together with other practices to jointly deliver more convenient appointments for patients.
  • delivering enhanced health in care homes to ensure residents have the same level of support as if they were living in their own home.

The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award

To the individual or team that has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations.

This award seeks to celebrate the amazing work of our emergency care services across the country – whether that’s A&E doctors and nurses, Ambulance Service paramedics and technicians, out-of-hours GPs or the 999 and 111 teams who take calls from worried members of the public – and we are looking specifically for nominees who have made improvements to how the NHS treats people who need urgent care in their areas.

This could be through:

  • developing new protocols, including working with other agencies and/or volunteers to improve response times or increase capacity in A&E
  • increasing the effectiveness of care, or
  • putting in place different services which are more convenient for people needing urgent treatment.

The Excellence in Education and Training Award

This award will recognise a team or individual that is leading the way in supporting the delivery of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan through innovative approaches to education through innovate approaches to education and training which benefit new and existing staff, support professional development and improve patient care. This award encompasses both clinical and non-clinical education and training and is open to all NHS sectors.

This could be through:

  • Excellence in training and education of the next generation of NHS staff;
  • Use of new, innovative technologies to support learning, such as virtual and augmented reality;
  • New approaches to education and training to attract diverse staff, such as apprenticeships and blended learning;
  • Effective support of existing staff to boost morale and wellbeing;
  • Use of continuing professional development to improve patient care and enrich careers.

The Volunteer Award

Volunteers have supported patients and staff in the NHS since its creation, doing everything from sitting with patients who are anxious or alone, to helping to provide life-saving support after a cardiac arrest. This award recognises the crucial role of volunteers in improving our health and care.

This award is for an individual, team or organisation that has supported local health and care services. This could be through:

  • Providing additional support and advice to patients;
  • Helping to ensure people have as high a quality of life as possible;
  • Helping to keep people healthy and well;
  • Helping to reduce inequalities;
  • Helping staff working in health and care.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

For an individual who has worked within a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a legacy. This award seeks to honour those who have given their life to the NHS, and have left it – whether just in their area or nationally – a better service for patients and/or a better place to work for those who will follow them. We are looking for someone who has worked or volunteered within or in support of a health or care setting for 40 years or more, and who has left a lasting legacy. This award is also open to any of the thousands former NHS workers across the country who have come out of retirement in recent years.

This could be through:

  • Shown enduring commitment to the values of the NHS;
  • Championing diversity and inclusion at work and in how the NHS treats patients;
  • Leading improvements in care or working conditions in challenging circumstances;
  • Simply bringing a smile to patients’ faces day in, day out.