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Innovative doctors invited to join unique training programme

Health education leaders in England are calling for the country’s most innovative and forward-thinking junior doctors to apply for a unique national training programme.

Integrated Clinical Entrepreneur Training, developed and managed by NHS England and Health Education England, is designed to keep the most forward-thinking, entrepreneurial clinicians within this country, bringing the benefit of cutting-edge new treatments and care pathways to the patients who need it – and keeping the money generated within the British economy.

The very first Clinical Entrepreneur trainees’ courses began just a few weeks ago, but already all clinical entrepreneurs have been matched to at least one mentor each, with industry partners, including Microsoft, McLaren, Johnson & Johnson Accenture, AstraZeneca, Tutella,  Medtronic and  AHSNs. Many of the entrepreneurs have negotiated successfully with their Training Programme Director and Postgraduate Dean for either an Out Of Programme Experience (OOPE) or Less Than Full Time Training (LTFTT) and plans are advancing for industry internships.

All doctors in training who are developing clinical innovations or enterprises can bid to become participants in this “limited places only” prestigious scheme. Applications to join the second cohort of trainees will open on 7 November 2016, with the course set to begin in September 2017. Doctors need to show that they have a clinical innovation or enterprise currently under development, and that there is clear scope for this work to be taken to a wider market with the support of the programme’s registered mentors.

Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England, said: “The programme was developed because traditional clinical practice and training was not keeping pace with the huge technological, economic and social changes of recent years.

“We could clearly see a worrying brain drain of the best clinical entrepreneurial talent out of the NHS and into private industry, often outside the UK. Integrated Clinical Entrepreneur Training is specifically designed to help and support these people to stay in the NHS, and over the longer term to make the best clinical entrepreneurial talent into self-sustaining brain gain for England.”

The programme is already making a huge difference to its first cohort of 104 trainees. Dr Harry Tustin, Core Surgical Trainee in Otolaryngology and a Clinical Entrepreneur, who has recently completed a surgical mission in Ethiopia, said: “’As someone fascinated by developing new devices for surgery, I often feel isolated working in the NHS where, in my experience, very little emphasis is placed on driving forward new ideas to see them applied in practice. On joining the programme, I felt for the first time that I was not alone in my desire to see new ideas driven through the development stage into real world application.

“My overwhelming impression is of a new sense of optimism, both as the result of the support promised and because of the exciting new network of likeminded individuals that will surely grow as innovators who share the same interests and grapple with the same problems are brought together.”

The scheme is backed by the medical training deaneries in all areas of England, who work in partnership with training universities and with NHS England to develop tailored packages for each trainee ahead of their course commencement.

The programme is set to open up to other clinical professionals in the NHS. Plans are being developed with support from NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Scientific Officer Prof Sue Hill and Chief Pharmacist Dr Keith Ridge to ensure all NHS clinical professionals in England will be able to apply for similar training programmes linked to their own professional development pathways.  A call for expressions of interest will open in 2017.

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7 comments

  1. Vicki Finlay says:

    This is a really positive investment in future innovation. However, there are nurse midwife and AHP entrepreneurs out there who are doing this alone. Isn’t it time for system leadership to acknowledge this and make these opportunities available to all clinicians?

  2. lel says:

    Working as head of strategy for a CSU I see great innovative ideas from many different professions within the NHS. I hope this initiative can be expanded to other areas as some of the great ideas to transform the NHS come from those often perceived as junior admin.

  3. Heather McClelland says:

    It is unclear why this is only available to doctors. Innovative ideas are fostered across the professions and the entrepreneurial skills needed to develop these ideas cannot be isolated to one profession. It simply makes no sense.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Heather,
      It has always been our intention to roll this exciting programme out to all NHS professions, and we are on track to do that next year. The programme was initially developed by and for the medical profession, as the idea developed among doctors. We are delighted to see the huge levels of interest among nurses, midwives and allied health professionals and hope to see as many as possible submitting expressions of interest in 2017. Please contact us at england.innovation@nhs.net to further discuss this rollout.
      Kind regards,
      NHS England.

  4. John Davies says:

    Why are we being mentored by Astra Zenaca etc Should we not be mentoring them as in paying full taxes not ripping customers off etc
    After the Crash 2007- 2008 what can private companies tell us ?

    • NHS England says:

      Dear John,
      Partnership with industry is key to building the right skills for bringing innovation to patients nationwide. This has been made clear in major reports and reviews including the NHS Five Year Forward View and the Accelerated Access Review, recently published by the Department of Health. We also know from our own research with clinicians that the commercial expertise of private sector companies related to health and technology is so important to doctors that many had left the NHS following initial training to develop their own innovations in partnership with companies like these. The Clinical Entrepreneur programme is specifically designed to support doctors to pursue their innovations with the support of both the commercial sector and the NHS. Please contact us at england.innovation@nhs.net if you would like more detailed information about the programme.
      Kind regards,
      NHS England

      • Andy Lindop says:

        This seems like a typical “politicians” answer – totally avoiding the question which is “should health professionals be trained by people whose ethics are doubtful” and who are driven by profit and concerns for their shareholders.