Clinical Excellence Awards 2021 – applying for FICM support

1 December 2020

The ACCEA have just announced they are going to be holding an award round in 2021. Please see below for all the important dates, especially if you want to seek Faculty support for your application.

Clinical Excellence Awards (CEAs) are intended to recognise and reward exceptional contribution over and above what is normally expected in a post. The awards are made to medically or dentally qualified NHS consultants for a fixed term and may be renewed following review.

In England, national CEA awards are assessed by the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards (ACCEA) administered by the Department of Health (England). The Welsh Government has arranged that national applications for CEAs will also be assessed by the ACCEA. In Northern Ireland national level applications have been suspended in recent years.

Guidance for local clinical excellence awards (LCEA) can be found on the NHS employers’ website.


Applications are due to open on Monday 07 December and the closing date is 5pm on Thursday 18 March 2021.

The ACCEA are conscious of the extraordinary pressures all of the NHS staff are facing this winter. As such, they have extended the application window from 8 to 14 weeks and have simplified the application process as follows.They have:

  • 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 ((NNB's) - Royal Colleges and Specialist Societies) will retain the ability to provide a citation to accompany those applications that they rank.


  • Citations are now only to be given by NNB’s for new applicants who achieve a ranking for all levels (bronze through to platinum).
  • Renewal applications will not need to be supported by a citation as they have in previous years.
  • Renewal applications cannot form part of a ranked list as new applications are.

The updated application guidance and application form for 2021 is now available on the ACCEA website.

The 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.

Award holders will need to submit 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

In some cases, award holders will be renewing out of the usual cycle. Awards are reviewed earlier if there is a change in job or a significant change in job plan.

If there are extenuating circumstances that have affected your application, such as ill health in yourself or a close family member, you should inform the ACCEA secretariat as soon as possible, ie before the deadline for submission. Although the extenuating circumstances should be mentioned in your application, you should have contacted the secretariat separately before submitting your application.

Useful links:

FICM support for awards

The FICM is registered as a nominating body. The FICM CEA committee comprises senior ICM consultants, plus a lay member. We would not normally provide support for local awards. For those considering applying at the bronze level you must consider carefully the implications of leaving any local award scheme. If you decide to apply nationally and wish to be considered by the FICM or your specialty association, you will need to comply with the timetable of the sponsoring organisation.

If you are likely to move employer or retire in the next 18 months you should ask the ACCEA for their advice.

The ranking lists and citations that our organisations supply are considered to be important supplements to the evidence contained in the Curriculum Vitae Questionnaire (CVQ). We encourage you apply to both your specialist association and the FICM for a place on their ranking list. If you wish both organisations to consider your application, you must send your CVQ to both organisations as we do not exchange CVQ information.

If you would like to be considered for FICM support, please email your completed ACCEA application form (including the name and contact details of the person you would like to write your citation*) to by: 

  • 5pm on Friday 29 January 2021 for Platinum awards
  • 5pm on Friday 05 February 2021 for Bronze, Silver and Gold 

*NB: The citation writer cannot be from your hospital and cannot be the same person who is writing your citation for another organisation eg the ICS, RCoA, specialist society etc.

Late applications will not be scored. For enquiries contact:

As with previous years, the responsibility for the actual online submission of the application to ACCEA will rest firmly with the applicant.

The deadline is: 5pm on Thursday 18 March 2021.