Communicating Health Awards 2009

Do you think you can communicate?

Do you think you can communicate REALLY well?

Do you think you do it so well you deserve an award?

The Communicating Health Awards recognise excellence in all forms of communication in, and for, the NHS and health and social care throughout the UK. Run by the Association of Healthcare Communicators (AHC) and now in their twelfth year, the awards acknowledge good practice, whether it is a campaign, newsletter or strategy. They are open to people working in or for the NHS and other health and social care organisations including agencies and freelancers.

In 2009 we are looking for excellence in communicating the main priorities of the NHS and delivering demonstrative evidence of the strategic role of communications within organisations.

We are asking you to demonstrate a strategic approach to communication by showing how you:

  • Developed your objectives
  • Identified your audiences, messages and communication tools
  • Chose the media
  • Evaluated your project.

Closing date – 30th April 2009


We have assembled a distinguished panel of judges including:

  • Cynthia Bower, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission
  • Jeff French, Director of the National Social Marketing Centre.
  • Mike Cooke, Chief Executive, Nottinghamshire Healthcare
  • Colin Douglas, NHS Director of Communications

Award Categories

Below are the award categories and some prompts to help you complete your entry. Many are interchangeable and you might find the same campaign is appropriate for more than one category. Please submit a separate entry form for each award entered.

The judges will be looking for evidence of planning, the use of research and evaluation.

  1. Best Internal Communications
    • How well do you communicate messages to staff?
    • How do you engage and involve staff in decision making?
    • How did you take people with you?
    • How do you know you have been successful?
    • How do you make sure your staff are your best ambassadors?
  2. Best Media Handling
    • How did you use the media to help your organisation?
    • How did you build your reputation with the media?
    • How do you protect your reputation with the media?
    • How do you measure your reputation with the media?
  3. Best use of New Media, Sponsored by Taylor Fitch
    • How have you utilised new media as part of your Communications Strategy?
    • How have you used new media to engage new audiences?
    • How have you evaluated its effectiveness?
  4. Best Annual Report
    • What makes your report stand out amongst your competitors?
    • How did you choose its design?
    • How do you use the Annual Report as part of your Marketing Strategy?
    • Who was your audience and what did they think of it?
  5. Best Engagement
    • How well do you communicate with your patients and the public?
    • How do you engage and involve them in decision making?
    • How do you know you have been successful?
    • What examples to you have of effective working with your partners and stakeholders?
    • How does your engagement enhance your reputation?
  6. Best use of Social Marketing
    • Did you focus on a health improvement behavioural goal with your public?
    • Did you use customer insight to drive your campaign?
    • How well did you develop partnerships to engage your audience?
    • What impact did your campaign have on reputation?
    • Did you segment your target audience?
  7. Best Public Sector Partnership Working
    • Which other organisations, such as local government, social services or the police, have you worked in partnership with?
    • How has partnership working benefited you and your partners?
    • What lessons have you learned?
  8. Award of Excellence

    To be awarded at the Association of Healthcare Communicators Conference in June to the winner of any of the above categories who the judges feel demonstrated the highest standards of communication.

  9. Communicator of the Year Award, Sponsored by Media Training Do you know:
    • Someone who is an outstanding communicator?
    • Someone who keeps calm in a crisis?
    • Someone who has helped enhance the perception of communications in the NHS?
    If so, nominate them for this special award.

The Awards Ceremony

The awards will be presented at the AHC’s 2009 Conference on Wednesday June 3rd at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Cardiff.

How to enter the Awards

Application Checklist

  1. Please forward two copies of the application form and two sets of individually collated supporting information for each entry.
  2. Separate entries must be submitted for each award entered
  3. Ensure that the title of the NHS organisation is correct and clearly written on the entry form as this is what will appear on any certificate awarded.
  4. Have you submitted evidence of evaluation?

Download an Awards Application Form


  1. Entries may be submitted by anyone working in or for the NHS
  2. Entries must consist of material completed between March 2008 and April 2009.
  3. Entries cannot be returned.
  4. The closing date for entries is April 30th 2009.
  5. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.