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Eric Watts Award for Excellence in Patient Care and Patient Engagement

Applications are invited for the Eric Watts Award for Excellence in Patient Care and Patient Engagement. The award recognises individual healthcare workers and teams who have made an extraordinary contribution to improving the patient experience.

About the award

Dr Eric Watts is a fellow of the RCP and a close collaborator with our Patient and Carer Network. As a teenager Eric was hospitalised while being treated for cancer. While his medical treatment was satisfactory, the emotional support and engagement he received as a patient was not, and he was left feeling like a bystander to his own care. Eric has spent his entire career trying to create more harmonious relationships between patients and clinicians and has now supported the RCP to launch this award to recognise individuals and teams who have done just that.

The award will be presented by Dr Watts at the RCP annual conference Medicine 2024.


Applicants do not need to be members or fellows of the RCP.

Applications are encouraged from groups and collective initiatives, with an emphasis on bottom-up engagement from patients and carers, councils, voluntary services or researchers. Groups should have links with established sources of reliable information, such as working healthcare professionals.


Applications should define a problem in patient care and engagement and detail how their group has or is working to improve this. Applications should aim to provide evidence of the following:

  • How the project was first established – what was the role of patients and carers in identifying the problem and designing the project?
  • How your initiative has led, or will lead to improvement in one or more of the following areas:


  • Emboldening patients’ communicative capacity with doctors
  • Improving the relevance of doctors’ communication training.

Partnership working

  • Shared decision making
  • Useful information in terms of what patients can do to help themselves
  • Empowering patients to take up official positions (e.g. hospital or integrated care board of directors).

Quality of care

  • Patient safety
  • Individualised patient services (e.g. enhancing and personalising follow-up services or recognising patients’ individual needs)
  • Working across boundaries to provide holistic care
  • Considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion in patient engagement.

Other areas of improvement will also be considered if demonstrated to be relevant to patient care and engagement.

Please also include information on the following:

  • How were or how are project impacts being measured? What was the role of patients and carers in this?
  • What have you learnt from PPIE and how has this impacted other work?
  • How the award could be used to progress or leverage your initiative. For example, if the project is at an early stage, the award could make a big difference; and less well-established teams may need the recognition of winning to help trigger further interest
  • You should ensure that you have clearly defined the initiative itself, as well as the team member roles
  • Please confirm that the application can be considered open and does not involve private personal or proprietary information, unless explicitly approved. Please also provide a short non-specialist description of the initiative that can be used in press releases if your application is shortlisted.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the below application form and send in PDF format to fundingandawards@rcp.ac.uk by 11.59pm, Sunday 14 January 2024.

For more information, please contact the funding and awards administrator: