National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIA)

Since the NHS was formed in 1948, there have been awards for NHS consultants who make outstanding contributions. In 2021, following a consultation on reforming the national Clinical Excellence Awards, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) increased the number of awards to broaden the diversity of award holders and the number of awardees. This was to try to encourage innovation across all specialties and geographic areas, enabling breakthroughs and improvements in patient care.

The national Clinical Impact Awards (NCIAs) are designed to recognise and retain dedicated clinicians in England and Wales who lead the way in demonstrating national impact in the provision and improvement of patient care, by going above and beyond their demanding roles. They are run by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Impact Awards (ACCIA). The ACCIA runs the NCIA scheme for the DHSC in England. The ACCIA also provides governance for awards for the Welsh Government. 

The ACCIA announced in March 2023, that the National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIA) applications will no longer include rankings and citations from national membership organisations, such as the FICM and RCoA.

The decision was based on a review of the 2022 scheme which concluded that the citation and ranking from these organisations made little difference to the overall decision making process and removing it would reduce bureaucracy, allow applicants more time to work on and submit their applications and hopefully increase the number and diversity of applications.


Why you should apply

  • To demonstrate and be recognised for your national achievements
  • To share your work with your peers
  • To support your sector and showcase what you have delivered
  • To inspire colleagues to strive for innovation - which in turn will bring further benefits and improvements for patients

If you are successful, you will be recognised with a financial award that reflects your outstanding contribution.

Completing your application will take time and commitment, however there is plenty of support available. Use the quick applicant's guide on the NCIA website to understand what is needed for each level of the awards and start to thinking about your evidence.

See the main applicant's guide on the NCIA website for comprehensive details about what you need to know for your application.

The 2024 round of National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIA) opens on 4 March and closes at 5pm on 15 April 2024.



The awards are for NHS consultants and academic GPs based in England and Wales who are registered on the:

  • General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list
  • General Medical Council (GMC) specialist list
  • GP register

You will qualify if you are a permanent NHS consultant or on an honorary contract and fulfil the relevant following criteria:

  • fully registered with a licence to practise
  • an academic GP in a permanent clinical academic role in higher education at senior lecturer level or above
  • employed by the NHS, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) or its arm’s length bodies, a university, medical or dental school, local authority or a Welsh government-associated organisation
  • in role for at least one year, on 1 April 2024
  • in England - on an NHS consultant contract expressed in programmed activities (PAs), or an academic contract expressed in an equivalent pay scale
  • in Wales - on an NHS consultant contract expressed in sessions
  • working a minimum of 3 clinically relevant contracted PAs

‘Clinically relevant’ eligibility is determined by considering the description of your activities that describe how you directly undertake clinical care, teaching, training and research activities within the allocated PAs in job plans.

Full details about what your role needs to involve are available in the main guidance. It also covers reasons you may not be eligible, such as:

  • if you are not on the consultant pay scale as expressed in PAs or an equivalent
  • if you are contracted to work fewer than 3 clinically relevant PAs
  • if you are a locum consultant or a consultant on a fixed term or rolling fixed contract, unless under specific employer policies for retire and return arrangements
  • if you work in general management without a specific clinical role
  • if you are not fully registered with a licence to practise

Overseas work that has not helped the NHS and public health directly or had a direct reputational benefit for the NHS overseas is not admissible.

Investigations into your work and disciplinary or legal action against you can affect your award or application. You must let the ACCIA know about any investigations that have been initiated as soon as possible.


The application process

All applications are completed online at the ACCIA application portal. You must submit your application by 5pm on 15 April 2024.

Read the available guides and log in to the portal early. You can log back in and edit your application up until you submit it, but you should save it regularly until you are satisfied that it’s complete. You can also print your application, but you must fill in the online application yourself - no one else can do it for you.


Key points for applications

It is vital that you read the applicants' guide before starting your application. It will set out whether you are eligible and will provide detailed guidance on each area of the application process and what should and should not be included. We would also recommend watching the ACCIA Applicant Webinar. In order to be competitive it is important that applications clearly demonstrate the impact of activities. 


Best practices: What to avoid:

Include evidence with dates clearly stated, preferably within the last 5 years.

Avoid submitting evidence older than 5 years or predating receipt of a national award. 

Do not omit dates from submissions.

Provide detailed job plans including contracted PAs and role descriptions.

Clarify unpaid work and external remuneration for contracted PAs.

Refrain from providing a mere list of activities without demonstrating their impact.
Emphasize impact over mere activity description. Avoid submitting evidence lacking clear impact or tangible outcomes.
Highlight instances of innovative work with wider adoption and resulting practice changes. Avoid focusing solely on local impacts without demonstrating wider influence.
Include specific numbers and percentages to contextualize achievements. Refrain from submitting narratives without providing quantitative context.
Reference national standards or those from relevant organisations for comparison. Don't base submissions solely on international standards without linking them to NHS reputation or UK economy

Explain abbreviations and acronyms upon first use, including organisational names.

Utilise bullet points for better readability

Avoid using unexplained acronyms or abbreviations.


Things to do when you apply

We would also draw your attention to the following points from the ACCIA applicants' guide  but please ensure you read it in full before starting your application :

  • Start your application early enough. Make your employer aware you are applying so they are able to sign-off your application in good time.
  • Give clear dates for your achievements – if the dates are not clear, it will bring your score down.
  • Concentrate on evidence from the last 5 years and make it clear what you have achieved since any prior award (if relevant) and how your work has progressed since then.
  • If your last award was less than 5 years ago, give evidence since your last award and be clear about what you have achieved since then.
  • Do not ‘cut and paste’ information from previous applications – assessors compare new and older applications and will check for repeated information. Do not repeat the same evidence in different domains. It will only receive credit from the assessors once.
  • Give measurable and externally validated information such as outcome data or other quality metrics wherever you can and quote the dates, source and relevant benchmarks.
  • You must explain the impact you had. Simply holding a position such as an ‘officer’ in a college or specialist society, or serving as a member of a committee, will not in itself justify an award – the national impact needs to be clear and temporally related to the period during which you did this work.
  • Use a new line for each entry and consider using bullet points to make the information clearer and easier to read but avoid merely providing a series of lists of activities or roles with no reference to impact.

Potential Sources of evidence for applications

  • NHS Infection rates

  • NJR data compliance

  • Patient feedback surveys

  • Guidance written or contributed to – together with where published or hit rates from websites

  • Research conducted and its impact

  • Peer Reviewed publications

  • Research grants achieved

  • Positions held, e.g. committee or trustee, but must be accompanied by evidence of what you have achieved in that role

  • Educational material or courses developed; invited keynote lectures; leadership roles in education and their impact

Flowchart outlining the options for clinicians close to retirement considering applying for an NCIA

Important Note:

Given that the awards will no longer be pensionable and, in England, at least initially it will not be possible to hold local and national awards concurrently, we strongly advise that fellows and  members consider their individual circumstances carefully before applying.

The BMA have provided some helpful scenarios on their website , with further detail on the values of National Clinical Impact Awards (NCIAs) and Local Clinical Excellence Awards in England (LCEAs) here.

BMA members can access other tools to help understand the financial impact of accepting an award.



The ACCIA have a number of resources to support applicants that can be found below:



Please contact directly should you have any further questions or queries. 

Applicants working in Wales should contact for any queries or issues.

Please note, NCIA applicants are no longer expected to provide citations from FICM to support their application. The Faculty is also not permitted to review or edit applications prior to submission.