THEY are the trailblazing team who developed an innovative training package encouraging staff to reach their full potential.

Now developers of an innovative Southern Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust training scheme proved they really are streets ahead of the rest after scooping a prestigious employment award.

Developers of the trust’s Going Viral programme won the Leadership Innovation category at the first Guardian Healthcare Innovation Awards.

The scheme – open to staff working in Hampshire and the south – seeks to trigger a cultural shift in the healthcare sector by encouraging employees of all levels to become leaders in the workplace, whether they are managers or not.

Participants are led through a range of scenarios during a nine-day course split up over six months where they are urged to take the lead regardless of whether they are the most senior person there or not.

They follow-up the sessions by setting personal objectives and seeking feedback from their colleagues and peers so they can develop the skills in their future day-to-day work.

More than 550 trust staff have completed the programme since it launched in June last year and 240 started the scheme in September.

The trust believes this will help improve the quality of patient care, and acting chief executive Sue Harriman said: “This award serves as well-deserved recognition to the team who have managed the programme’s delivery.

“We believe that supporting people at every level of the organisation to act as leaders is vitally important for creating a strong and inclusive culture that brings about improvements that benefit our patients and service users.

“We want to encourage people to share ideas and best practice, integrate with their colleagues and redesign services to ensure we are always delivering the best possible care.”

The awards featured seven categories including prizes for innovation in technology, delivery, hospital admissions, partnership and workforce.