Congratulations to all the finalists in the MJA Awards 2023 and thank you to the hundreds of talented health and medical journalists who entered our awards..
Winners will be announced at the MJA Awards Ceremony, September 13, 2023 at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall, London EC2Y 5BL. All finalists, members, judges and sponsors are invited to celebrate but RSVP is essential. View the ceremony invite and RSVP.
NB: Links are provided to finalists work where submitted as part of their entry
New Award: Student Journalist of the Year
Entrants were studying at a Higher Education institution in the UK or had been studying at the time the work entered was first publication or broadcast.
Masters of pharmacy student at Keele University
Noni considered how BAME healthcare professionals can be supported in the workplace to improve inclusivity and diversity. This piece was well researched and well written, intercut with videos and reports. It included astonishing statistics concerning the lack of representation of those of a black, Asian and minority ethnic background and illustrated how work being done to counter this could mean improved outcomes for patients. A thorough, far reaching, and compelling piece of journalism.
Chemistry PhD student at The University of Manchester
A well-trodden subject but examined in a particularly through and balanced way – something vital given the target audience. Excellent content provided and helpful hyperlinks to additional information
Newcomer of the Year
36 months or fewer in health/medical journalism
Simar’s piece was particularly impressive because it presented a new perspective on an issue that has been comprehensively explored and researched countless times before. There was meticulous use of data, careful analysis of the devastating effects of tobacco on individuals and society and an incisive account of the complex nature of nicotine addiction.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is an important exploration of the devastating impact of another public health crisis and our long standing failure to address inequities in global health systems. There was an excellent use of statistics and quotes, which brought a well-argued narrative to life.
Nursing, like other clinical professions, faces a global workforce shortage; this piece lays bare the scale and individual impact of this crisis. This was a well written and engaging piece which explores how Covid-19 accelerated fractures in an already struggling profession. The piece questions the ethics of international recruitment using quotes from senior figures and powerful testimony from individual nurses and what has driven them out of their profession.
Podcast of the Year
Emma Bower, Czarina Deen
Very good and thorough coverage of an important, but often contentious subject. In-depth reporting of both legal and health issues with informed opinion from a wide range of voices.
Rachel Ellis, Hannah Varrall, David Taylor
Excellent journalism – a thorough investigation into a hugely important issue, very well researched and conducted with dogged persistence. Fascinating listening in the best tradition of news features reporting.
Nick Petrić Howe, Tulika Bose, Jeff DelViscio, Noah Baker, Melissa Nobles
Groundbreaking exposé that covers a huge amount of material including how racist 18th-Century notions still have a negative impact today, putting both clinicians and patients at risk. An incredibly important subject to cover with real and alarming revelations.
Freelance of the Year
Entrants submitted three pieces of work for judging
Simar Bajaj demonstrated great versatility in his articles, with a wide range of important stories written in an informative style.
David Cox submitted important articles taking a global perspective on important issues that are often only seen through a UK lens.
Rachel Ellis spanned some interesting subjects for the Mail and a fascinating podcast for Tortoise.
Rachael Pells demonstrated a rare ability to span publications aimed at quite different audiences. She demonstrated great versatility, while maintaining a high standard of writing.
Rosie Taylor submitted high-quality work published in national newspapers on women’s issues, which are not always taken seriously in mainstream titles.
Mental Health Story of the Year — supported by Edelman
An in-depth look at the need for better mental health and workload support for GPs using sensitive and heartbreakingly raw interviews with the widow of Alastair Watt, a Consultant who took his own life. A well written and honest account.
Angus Crawford, Tony Smith
An exploration into the distressing impact caused by social media on Molly Russell’s state of mind and the anguish it triggered prior to her suicide. It delivered an important message regarding the use of social media and useful guidelines for parents.
Richard Frediani, Alison Freeman, Adam Nolan, Liam Blyth, Caroline Turner
A really moving mini-documentary on a campaign by three fathers bereaved by suicide to try and influence government policy to get suicide prevention on the school curriculum.
Rachel Lucas, Lisa Holland, Chris Curtis, Rebecca Thomas (The Independent)
A powerful investigation between Sky and the Independent into alleged failures of care at a children’s mental health hospital, using interviews with multiple vulnerable young women and their families to tell a concerning story.
Leo Telling, Joe Plomin, Alan Haslam, Karen Wightman
A hard-hitting documentary exposé of abuse in one of Britain’s largest NHS-run psychiatric hospitals using brilliant undercover filming
The Dr David Delvin Award for sex and sexual health journalism — supported by Christine Webber
A strong article unpicking the complexities of sexual problems resulting from conservative upbringings and long-standing belief systems.
Sexual function is often neglected from cancer care discussions. The journalist handled the case study story with great sensitivity. This piece will raise awareness of the importance of caring for the ‘post-treatment’ cancer patient and breaking the silence to hopefully improve outcomes.
James Gallagher, Erika Wright
Informative, accessible, engaging and James Gallagher’s sperm analysis was an excellent way to break down the silence around male fertility.
Sophia Smith Galer
A piece which raised issues that deserve wider attention. We were particularly impressed by the impact the piece had on NHS practice.
A welcome investigation into the booming sexual wellness industry with excellent use of experts. Speaks to the aim of the award – advice that supports sexual wellbeing and therefore overall wellbeing.
Feature of the Year (specialist audience)
A moving insight into the vicious circular trap of poverty that highlights the human cost of economic policy. Starting from the perspective of one community, this feature explores all the key health issues created by austerity in Britain.
Rachel Carter, Jaimie Kaffash
Pulse: Lost Practices
A thorough, detailed, and well-crafted examination of an important social issue. It tackles a vital issue in medicine today. Well researched and constructed into a powerful narrative.
A timely feature that explains some complicated issues and concepts clearly.
An interesting and informative feature on something that is widely experienced, but poorly understood.
A colourful and refreshing feature that brings together some warm and interesting personal stories.
Feature of the Year (broadcast)
Sean Clare, Michele Paduano, Charlotte Rowles, Emily O’Sullivan, Jonathan Callery, David Grossman, Stewart Maclean, Becky Emmett
Rigorous and thorough journalism revealed serious shortcomings at an NHS trust. The findings – the high number of doctors referred to the GMC by the trust itself compared to other trusts and the failure of the trust to alert the GMC that one of those it reported was a whistleblower – had real impact and was well told.
Melissa Hogenboom, Pierangelo Pirak
This film was visually clever and inventive as well as emotionally strong and intelligent. The judges noted that it was done on a low budget over many months.
Elise Wicker, Yazmina Garcia, Deirdre Finnerty, Aoife McKenna
A novel and highly informative take on an issue that has had much other coverage. Strong, sometimes heartbreaking interviews with young women, who had lost their fertility due to early menopause, presented with clever explanation and use of graphics.
Feature of the Year (general audience)
Chrissie Giles, Rosa Furneaux, Laura Margottini, Paul Eccles
This journalist makes accessible what in other hands could be a complex and dry subject. Its strength lies in the fact that it brings together multiple threads and explains to its readers, in simple terms, the regulation of drugs, their import and export and what happens when things go wrong with supply chains. It is based on great investigative reporting, including interviews with many deeply concerned doctors and illustrated with a moving case history.
Andrew Gregory, Denis Campbell
A great combination of individual stories that build to give an excellent picture of the many challenges the NHS was facing over the winter. It is very skilful in linking different elements – how A&E pressures ripple through the system, the challenge of discharging patients where there’s no care at home and how community care had ground to a standstill.
The Sunday Times: One dogged coroner, four needless deaths and a stark conclusion: the NHS is broken
This is a brilliant piece raising awareness of the crisis in the NHS. Despite how much coverage the issue has had, this article felt new. With excellent sources and great access, this journalist draws the threads together from coroner to care homes. Well-structured, well-researched and put together in 48 hours – and a feature with big impact.
The Sunday Times Magazine: The hunt for disease X
A high-readable and unalarmist look at the threat of unknown pathogens. A hugely well-researched piece and interviews with all the right sources. Comprehensive, measured and above all, interesting.
A lovely way to tackle the enormity of waiting lists by drilling down and focusing on different groups of conditions and personalising them with one patient. The journalist writes these case studies in a way that illustrates the problem, weaving them together to make them more meaningful and greater than the sum of their parts.
The Gordon McVie Award for reporting cancer research — supported by Roche
It was really refreshing to listen to this, which took a more critical view of a scientific advance involving a blood test for cancer. It was an informative story that made good use of patient voice.
New Scientist: Time to get personal
This used an interesting patient voice to tell a story involving personalised cancer vaccines, that felt genuinely cutting edge, communicating complex science in a really easy read.
Even though this piece was longer and more technical than others in the category it was still really engaging with a strong opening.
Fergus Walsh, Nicki Stiastny, James Anderson, Joshua Falcon
BBC TV News: Base editing cancer therapy
Really powerful reporting of a spectacular result. The story and the science were presented in an engaging way. The piece made great use of graphs and a compelling patient voice, which was shared with a lot of care.
The Times: After centuries of cut, burn and poison, could a jab cure cancer?
This was a year when immunotherapy dominated the headlines, but in a crowded field this piece really stood out through the vibrancy of its writing and the quality of the journalism. It made use of a range of experts and told the story in an emotive way.
News Story of the Year (specialist audience)
Health Service Journal: NHSE set for £400m dentistry underspend despite ‘access crisis’
The judges were impressed that Henry was able to bring a new angle to the debate around the crisis in dentistry, prompting questions in Parliament and informing an inquiry by a committee of MPs. Reporting this story will have required a solid level of sector knowledge and excellent contacts.
The BMJ: Recorded violent incidents at GP clinics double in five years
This entry combined smart use of data to highlight the issue, with emotive testimonies that brought the story to life. Gareth’s reporting was an important contribution, highlighted the real-life consequences of the polarised and toxic debate around GP access.
This story grabbed the attention of all the judges. Tommy’ s reporting has amplified the voice of a whistle-blower fighting against a system that too often ignores the concerns of staff.
The Pharmaceutical Journal: More than half of pharmacists warn medicine shortages have risked patient safety in the past six months
This story demonstrated tenacity and sustained effort to uncover an important issue. Carolyn’s reporting brought together a deep understanding of the sector, with a commitment to assess and reveal an important issue. The outcome is a story that clearly resonates with many people.
This entry stood out because Clare’s investigation went beyond the usual cancer silos to reveal a concerning trend across many forms of cancer. The clear and dispassionate presentation of data from multiple sources made for an informative and insightful piece on this as yet under-reported issue.
News Story of the Year (broadcast)
Louisa Felton, Daniel Hewitt, Rob Turner, Patrick Russell
ITV News: Patient safety put ‘at risk’ by crumbling NHS hospitals in desperate need of repair
A painstaking investigation into one of the most pressing problems facing the NHS: the condition of its estate. The team assembled strong data, shocking images and powerful testimony on the state of neglect and disrepair, and this is impacting staff and patients. A very memorable report reflecting a real commitment to exposing the scale and importance of the issue.
Katie Goodman, Tessa Chapman, Christina Michaels, Devron Callender
A powerful and persuasive piece of original journalism, meticulously researched and clearly presented with compelling case studies, who were given space and time to tell their stories. This important story was delivered with empathy and gravitas highlighting a long-neglected issue in a way that was balanced, respectful and authoritative.
Tony Smith, Angus Crawford
This shocking exposé on lack of care and adherence to safety protocols at the largest supplier of private mental health services to the NHS was harrowing to watch. Sensitively told, the stories of these five young women, three of whom lost their lives. Coroners have ruled that two of these women died as a result of these failures, a third inquest was ongoing at the time this booklet went to print. This report puts a spotlight not only on the practices within the walls of the facility but also reveals the failings of those meant to provide oversight to NHS contractors. An important piece of reporting.
Mark Thompson, Ashish Joshi, Sarah O’Connell, Andy Dennell, Jonathan Scarratt, Josh Masters, Finn Lord-Jones
A gritty and impactful piece, revealing both the devastating impact of drug addiction and the new threat facing users of the class-A drug. This story goes much deeper than typical coverage, highlighting the desperate plight of addicts who are risking and all too often losing their lives to get a fix. Case studies were well researched and delicately presented to deliver a powerful account of this unreported wave of death. A great piece of work.
News Story of the Year (general audience)
Hugely impactful, well written piece which lead the news agenda and exposed health inequalities in the health system, building on what was exposed during Covid. An often-neglected story.
The Sunday Times: Surgeon branded bully faces review after patient, 17, dies
A great piece of investigative journalism exposing harm which could have been avoided.
Thorough and well-written piece drawing attention to a lethal childhood disease and how science is driving innovation through gene-edited sheep.
Case Study of the Year
BBC Look North: Long Covid
Compelling insight into a health professional living with a condition that is not well understood.
Catherine Burns, Lesley Day, Nick Woolley, David Wilkins, Joshua Falcon
Tragic case study of a failure in maternity care, which had a life-changing effect on a whole family, an area that is causing concern.
The Telegraph: Would you inject yourself once a week to lose weight?
Good description of a treatment heralded as an easy answer to losing weight showing the damaging consequences of obesity and the benefits and potential side effects of the drug.
Richard Frediani, Claire Ryan, Sally Nugent, Liam Blyth, Sean Twamley, Ben Kay-Coles, Eloise Woods
Powerful story of living with one of the most debilitating conditions. In a very competitive category the power and emotion this story generated was exceptional.
James Gallagher, Gerry Holt
Moving description of the isolation of someone at risk.
Science Explained supported by Yakult
The BMJ: Why health experts are fighting to end daylight saving time
Insightful and engaging narrative mixing robust research with real life relevance.
Catherine de Lange
New Scientist: Into the blue
Broad ranging but continuously engaging narrative that informs and entertains.
Engaging interview with great metaphors and a fantastic interview driving a long and complex Covid story.
Sue Nelson, Natasha Loder
Well paced with a powerful opening. Great mix of case studies, narrative, and expert interviews that were intertwined. Science well explained.
Charlotte Stoddart, Jules Bartl, Nigel Manington
Animation produced by Dog & Rabbit
Delightfully clear and beautifully engaging explanation of an important but notoriously complex subject, brought to life with brilliant visualisation and compelling narrative. Successfully informs a wide audience on a complex issue many might think too difficult to explain to a layperson.
Editor of the Year – supported by Virgo
Entrants submitted three pieces of work for judging
In an unprecedented decision there is no shortlist in this category.The judges felt one entry was outstanding and deserved to be the winner but said it was impossible to decide between the rest of the incredibly talented field of entrants from across all formats and fields of journalism including broadcast, specialist journals and health sections of national newspapers. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony.