Advocacy Focus is thrilled to share the news that our Advocacy for Autistic People in Mental Health Inpatient Settings pilot has been shortlisted for Mental Health Safety Improvement Award and Patient Safety Pilot Project of the Year at this year’s HSJ Patient Safety Awards which recognises safety, culture and positive experience in patient care, celebrating its worthy finalists on a national scale.

The HSJ Patient Safety Awards acknowledges the hard-working teams and individuals across the UK who are continually striving to deliver improved patient care.

A record-breaking 515 entries were received for the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2023, with 209 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist. The high volume – and exceptional quality – of applications is once again reflecting the dedication and commitment to patient care within the UK’s healthcare networks.

Of the 24 categories, three are new for 2023, representing some of the recent initiatives and current focus areas within the NHS. These comprise the award for staff wellbeing initiative of the year; safety improvement through technology award; and urgent and emergency care safety initiative of the year

The judging panel was made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community.

Following the thorough judging process to date, Advocacy Focus was shortlisted, ahead of the official awards ceremony to be held later this year in Manchester (September 18th).  The Awards are a highlight of the HSJ’s annual 2-day Patient Safety Congress (taking place on 18 & 19 September), where delegates working at the forefront of safety, quality and clinical excellence will come together to join in with open and honest discussions about the current reality of safety.

At this first stage of judging, the shortlist was set against three clear criteria; clinical and specialist excellence; enacting organisation-wide change and service/system innovation.

Our pilot aimed to bridge the gap in the Mental Health Act and provide advocacy support to autistic informal patients ensuring their wishes and views were heard and respected. Supporting a potentially more vulnerable group of people to be aware of their rights and support them to be heard. Additionally, we have been engaging with autistic inpatients across Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCFT) hospitals. The aim of this engagement has been to gather the views, wishes and experiences of people across the trust surrounding their care and treatment and their experience of advocacy. These views have been collected with the vision of this shaping how inpatient services meet the needs of autistic people using their services and how effective advocacy services are.

It is incredibly exciting to have the pilot work we have done be shortlisted for two HSJ Patient Safety Awards. We have been privileged enough to amplify the voices of people in inpatient services and promote change to better meet their needs based on their own unique experiences. Providing advocacy to autistic informal people who would ordinarily not have independent support and have that work recognised is an incredible achievement for all our team who were involved.

Ellie Bradley

SJ editor Alastair McLellan, adds; “As always, it’s a pleasure at this stage of our lengthy judging process, to be able to offer my congratulations to Advocacy Focus, as the shortlisted finalists are revealed for this years’ HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

“Every one of the projects, Trusts, teams and individuals who entered this year have truly demonstrated their skills in setting – and delivering – the highest of standards in healthcare excellence, presenting our venerable panel of judges with some difficult decisions.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming our finalists to the awards ceremony in September, where we’ll have a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate some really impressive achievements, whilst sharing experiences, best practice and learning from our colleagues working in a diverse range of roles across the healthcare sector.”

The full list of finalists for the 2023 HSJ Patient Safety Awards can be found at

Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Manchester Central, on September 18th 2023.

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