Clinical Excellence Awards

Clinical Excellence Awards recognise and reward NHS consultants and academic GPs who perform over and above the standard expected of their role.

Awards are given for quality and excellence, acknowledging exceptional personal contributions. There are 12 levels of award. Levels 1–8 are awarded locally (employer based awards) and levels 9–12 (consecutively bronze, silver, gold and platinum) are awarded nationally (England and Wales). 

To be considered for an award, consultants and academic GPs will have to demonstrate achievement in developing and delivering high-quality patient care, and commitment to the continuous improvement of the NHS.

The awards cover bronze, silver, gold and platinum and all medical specialties, and so the process is very competitive. 

The awards are co-ordinated and awarded by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA), sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Clinical Excellence Awards 2021

The 2021 national Clinical Excellence Awards competition opened on Monday 7 December and will close at 17:00 on Thursday 18 March 2021. Late applications will not be accepted under any circumstances.

Given the suspension of the 2020 award round and expected increase in application numbers, ACCEA has agreement from DHSC Ministers to allocate more than 300 new awards. The final number will depend upon the number of applications received and the financial projections for their costs.

Who can apply for an award?

The Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) will accept applications for new national awards from consultants and academic GPs working for the NHS in England and Wales and for renewed awards from those due to renew their award in 2021. This includes those who were due to renew in 2020 and whose awards were extended by one year.

Members will need to put in a renewal application if:

  • They received their current award in the 2017 round
  • Their award was last renewed in 2016 (awarded in 2012, 2007, 2002)
  • Their award was due to be renewed in 2020 and was extended by one year

Making an application

To make an application, go to the ACCEA applicants' guide and application form before submitting an application

Please note the following significant changes that the ACCEA have made to the application form:

  • Removed the additional forms for Domains 3, 4 and 5.
  • Increased the character limit to 2,000 characters for these domains, maintaining the separate publication section of 1,350 characters in Domain 4.
  • Removed employer ratings for individual Domains and the employer statement. Employers will continue to select from 3 levels of support (Supported, Qualified Support, Not Supported) and a justifying statement will still be required if the application is Not Supported or has Qualified Support.
  • Removed third-party citations. National Nominating Bodies (Royal Colleges and Specialist Societies) will retain the ability to provide a citation to accompany those new applications that they rank.


For the 2021 competition, ACCEA is introducing new arrangements for the submission of citations by nominating bodies, such as the College. These are:

  • Citations can only be provided for new applications only
  • Citations can only be provided for those who are included on the RCR's ranked list
  • Renewals are not included in the ranked list submitted to ACCEA and this year those applying for a renewal are not required to submit a College citation.
  • Members applying for a renewal and an 'upgrade' will only be scored on their new application and the renewal application will not be considered.

The deadline for applications for RCR support has now passed.

Platinum awards

New Platinum awards are assessed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) before being submitted to ACCEA. The deadline for applications has now passed.

Platinum renewals – AoMRC has no involvement with these and they are submitted to ACCEA through the same system as other ACCEA national awards.

Informing you of the outcome of your citation request

The RCR will notify all applicants in late February whether they have been successful for College support. For those who are successful, it is your responsibility to submit your application via the ACCEA portal, as the RCR ranking and citation can only be applied if your application has been uploaded.

Applicants should be aware that it is their responsibility and not the College's to ensure that they complete the form on ACCEA's website and submit it by the closing date – 17:00 on Thursday 18 March 2021.

Contact us

Please contact the RCR Clinical Excellence Awards team for either clinical radiology or clinical oncology