HSJ Awards 2024 - Innovation and Improvement in Reducing Healthcare Inequalities Award
Innovation and Improvement in Reducing Healthcare Inequalities Award
Award Partner
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Health inequalities are the preventable, unfair and unjust differences in health status that arise from the unequal distribution of social, environmental and economic conditions within societies, which determine the risk of people getting ill, their ability to prevent sickness, or opportunities to take action and access treatment when ill health occurs.

COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on some of the health and wider inequalities that persist in our society and the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on particular groups.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Core20PLUS5 approach aims to support the reduction of healthcare inequalities experienced by communities most at risk at both national and system level. The approach defines a target population cohort; i) the 20% most deprived and ii) ‘PLUS’ groups experiencing poorer than average care. It also identifies ‘5’ focus clinical areas requiring accelerated improvement – maternity, severe mental illness, chronic respiratory disease, early cancer diagnosis and hypertension case finding.

This award recognises innovative and creative initiatives which aim to reduce healthcare inequalities at a national or local level – especially those which align with the Core20PLUS5 approach. Therefore, award entries should have a focus on the most deprived communities, inclusion health groups (any population group that is socially excluded. This can include people who experience homelessness, drug and alcohol dependence, vulnerable migrants, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, sex workers, people in contact with the justice system and victims of modern slavery, but can also include other socially excluded groups), ethnic minority communities and/or other groups experiencing poorer-than-average care. Initiatives could also relate specifically to one of the ‘5’ clinical area ambitions.

Judges are looking for entries that drive tangible improvements in access, experiences and outcomes for patients, carers, people and/or communities. Winners will be projects co-designed and co-produced with patients, built on strong local partnerships, that use data and insights effectively and intelligently to target interventions and demonstrate measurable impacts outlining what has actually made a difference to communities.


All NHS organisations (including providers, partnerships and systems), General Practice and primary care organisations.


  • Outline the health inequality area of concern and the specific community this initiative aims to improve access, experience and/or outcomes for
  • Explain what you set out to achieve i.e. describe the initiative including resources, capacity, data/insights that shaped the intervention, such as the Health Inequalities dashboard
  • Include your measures of success and include detail on the benchmarks used. There should be a clear positive impact on patient access, experience and/or outcomes


  • Include quantitative and qualitative evidence of improving patient access, experience and/or outcomes for the specified communities at risk of healthcare inequalities
  • Describe how the initiative was implemented to achieve these results
  • Provide testimonial evidence supporting your work
  • Describe the financial impact of implementation, including evidence relating to value for money


  • Describe how the learnings from the initiative have been shared across your organisation and/or beyond
  • Explain the efforts made to share your best practice examples with others in the NHS
  • Provide evidence to support the sharing of your achievements and outcomes


  • Describe how the healthcare inequalities improvement initiative has improved patient access, experience and/or outcomes in the target population
  • Provide evidence of any other positive impacts on patients, staff or the organisation which could contribute to the reduction of health inequalities
  • Describe how the initiative will achieve sustainability within the organisation


  • Describe the involvement and engagement of relevant internal and external stakeholders in the development and implementation of the initiative i.e. Voluntary and community sector / social enterprises in development and implementation of the initiative
  • Explain how patients, carers, people and communities were engaged in the co-designing, planning and implementation of health inequalities improvements. There should be evidence that this is meaningful and sustained.

Innovation and Improvement in Reducing Healthcare Inequalities Award

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To find out more

Entries, attendance and sponsorship enquiries, contact awardssupport@hsj.co.uk 
Media and marketing enquiries, contact Honey de Gracia 0207 608 9002;
Judging and event management, contact Sheena Patel 0207 608 9039