Golden Rules for ACCEA

The BSR is happy to review all requests for support for ACCEA. However the BSR has restrictions on the number of people it can support. All requests are marked and ranked using the same ACCEA marking scheme, described below, by a panel of experienced rheumatologists (who are not applying for an award at your level). I would like to point out that BSR endorsement (as with RCP support) may help your application but this does not mean you will be successful! I think the most important endorsement comes from your local hospital. Therefore it is critical that you have local hospital support. If you are applying for renewal see paragraph 13.

The annual submission of forms to the Trust for CEA points and to ACCEA for National Awards is time consuming and frequently not met with success. This in itself can be demotivating. To some extent you have to stand back and have a critical look at yourself, your form and what you have done before you apply. There is intense competition for these awards, they are not just given ‘for service’ nor are they ‘a right’. However there are some things that you can do to improve your chances.

Count filling in the ACCEA form as an exam not as something you should fill in apologetically. Like any exam obey the rules! The following are ideas evolved from marking several hundred papers.
General Points:-

1.    Take pity on your assessors, they may have to read 400+ papers. Therefore make your paper readable, do not exceed the word count. I personally prefer to have the information broken down into paragraphs or bullet points. I find a whole paragraph describing different roles harder to get a feel for than if the information is broken down into the salient points.
2.    Remember your assessor may be faced with marking 400 papers and thus if he spends 10 minutes per paper that equals 66 hours work which has to be done within one month while he/she is still working full time. Therefore he/she might only spend 2 minutes per domain. If the examiner has to struggle to understand your information then you are less likely to get a good mark.
3.    ACCEA forms and College CVQ’s are scored, with each of the 5 domains, being marked out of 10 giving a maximum of 50 points. To try and separate results away from ’average’ the following scoring system is used:-

•    0 points: no evidence provided
•    2 points: performance as expected
•    6 points: performance exceeds expectation
•    10 points: outstanding performance   
4.    Your assessor is unlikely to work within your field. Therefore you should write your form so that anyone can easily understand the significance of what you put down.
5.    Do not use abbreviations without explaining there meaning. Being President of BSR means nothing to a cardiologist!
6.    Avoid comments like ‘I am the most important  xxxxxx’. It is almost certain that your examiner won’t agree!
7.    If you have done a role for a number of years such as RSA and you have got a National award during that time then you have been rewarded for that activity and you will not get further recognition. It might therefore be time for you to think about stepping down from that role and putting yourself forward for some other position.
8.    Getting 1-2 CEA points is relatively easy, but the competition gets harder the more points you have. Do not expect to get a point every year. Most Trusts want to see what activity you have done since your last point. This gets progressively harder to demonstrate in a single year. To some extent the activity has to be more important as you go up the scale. It will be assumed the longer you have been a Consultant the more opportunity you will have had to do extra activity for your Trust etc.
9.    It is most important to date the information that you put in, then it is clear that the activity was after your last point or award. Examiners may ignore ‘undated activity’ assuming that you didn’t date it because it was done some time earlier!
10.    In the jump from Local points to a National award you can utilise activities done earlier so long as they help explain why you deserve a National award. But again date the activity.
11.    Generally you have little chance of being considered for a National award if you do not have a minimum of 4 CEA points. For most people you will have to have a minimum of 6-7 points. There are always people who do make dramatic leaps up the scale but if you look at the activities they have done nationally or internationally then you should not be surprised.      
12.    The following is an exert from the Scottish Awards Guidlines:- ‘Awards are not seniority payments, nor are they given to holders of particular types of post as of right. All doctors are expected to display, and maintain, very high standard of conduct and professional competence, taking account of guidance issued by the GMC where appropriate.  To warrant consideration for an award, SACDA will look for performance over and above what is normally expected in respect of service to patients, teaching and the management and development of the service.  In general SACDA will expect a record of achievement across a range of the criteria listed below from consultants nominated for awards; special achievement in only one or two of these areas will not normally be sufficient’.
13.    Renewals: Treat these with the utmost respect they are as important as your original application. Do not believe that you can get away with a rehash of the previous document. Your new document should be as carefully written as the first with dates of the new activities ‘done since your last award’. The panel will mark you just as tenaciously as a person applying for the first time to this level. If you don’t have your award renewed you will lose your whole ACCEA award and all the money i.e. you do will not just revert to the level below your current one.
14.    It is difficult not to be down hearted if you do not have any success. In this     situation it is a good idea to discuss your form with someone in the Trust, who perhaps is involved in ACCEA.

Initial Information:-
a) Put your name at the top! Accurately put the date and level of your last award. This is important as generally you have to have a minimum of 3 years between National awards. Examiners check this to see how much of your activity was done ‘after your last award’.
b) When detailing your job put NHS xx PA’s, University xx PA’s. Examiners have different expectations of full time NHS Consultants who still contribute to research to Professors who may have 6 University PA’s to organise their research in.

Personal Statement:-
What information you put here might differ slightly for who ever the form is intended for e.g. If for your Speciality or College you might emphasise your role in that Society, if for your Trust your role in the hospital. It is intended as a place to put information supporting your claim which doesn’t fit in elsewhere. But it can be used to summarise your activities that you feel most support your claim.
Job Plan:-
I think a breakdown of your activity here is sufficient; I do not want to know how you fill every second or see your time table! However I do want to know what activity you are paid for and what activity you are not paid for. I also want to see what activity you do for the NHS such as Ward Rounds, number of OPD’s per week (proportioned into number of PA’S), Ethics Committee’s etc. Specify what you do in your SPA time. If you are an academic then clearly state what you do.
Do not forget to mention activity done for the Deanery, College or Specialist Society, these are generally unpaid activities.

The Domains:- Do read the ACCEA Advice Guide

Domain 1
Delivering a high quality service:-
Use NHS ‘Outcome Data’ as a source of your activity level. Mention details of your last 360° feedback assessment or validated patient survey.
Leadership roles…

Domain 2
Developing a service
Have you introduced any new developments e.g. Gained new colleagues medical or Nurse practitioner, created new outpatients to plug a gap in services, audit cycle loop etc. If you have been responsible for the development then say so! It is the only chance you get to clearly state your role. I did…xxxx.  But make sure you are accurate! It is not unknown for two people from the same unit to claim credit for the same event!

Domain 3
Managing a service
Consider breaking this section down into your contribution at Local, National and International level. It is a chance to mention your contribution to management. It is better to state your role on a committee. Most of the work on a committee’s seems to be done by the Chair or Secretary so ‘just being on a committee’ is not enough detail.

Domain 4
Research and Innovation
Even if you are not an ‘academic’ it is amazing how much research activity you can (or could) be involved in such as: - you may be involved in recruitment of patients for other people’s trials. State your role and the reason why this research is important to you.
It is not expected by ACCEA that you can fill in every domain perfectly. As in any exam try not to leave a section blank because then you definitely get zero points.

a) Do not fill this section in if you are going to fill in form D, just put ‘See form D’. If you do fill this domain in some examiners will mark this domain and not look at your form D!
b) I would expect academics to fill in form D, if they don’t you do wonder what they do with their time.

c) Do you put down your most important references (in the high impact journals) or your most recent? Again if you are applying for a national award it is good to see some references dated after your last award. You may get little credit if you quote references done for your MD (assuming that was 10 years+ earlier.
d) If you suggest that you are doing research and then quote references that do not reflect this activity or clearly were done years earlier then it is hard to rate the research you are doing as especially important.
e) Mention Grants held, do remember to say if you are the ‘Principle Investigator or Co-applicant’ and state when the grant was awarded.

Domain 5
Teaching and Training
It is surprising how much teaching you might be doing, when you consider teaching junior doctors, MRCP teaching, Allied health professionals etc. You could consider breaking this down into Undergraduate, Postgraduate, International and Lay public. Can you provide any feedback or other forms of assessment of teacher quality? Some examiners will be from the lay public therefore doing not forget to mention your involvement with any local or National group.

Domain Creep
To some extent it is inevitable that some roles will get mentioned in more than one Domain. If so then make sure you explain why it is relevant to that Domain.

CTPease  December 2008   Updated March 2017