Entrepreneur scheme for innovative doctors extended to healthcare scientists and dentists

A unique training scheme for clinicians whose innovative ideas could lead to big patient benefits has been opened up to healthcare scientists and dentists.

Over the last year 103 junior doctors have developed their ideas and their business skills through the Clinical Entrepreneur programme. Now applications are opening up to healthcare scientists and dentists.

The programme offers a range of support and education, including mentoring by leading medical technology innovators, to give the budding entrepreneurs the business skills and industry knowhow they need to make their ideas a reality.

Doctors supported so far include:

Dr Hinnah Rafique has developed her Help Me I’m a Medic network into the UK’s largest social enterprise and online community run by medics, for medics.

The not-for-profit organisation aims to widen access to medical careers across lower-income students, and the team visit schools and colleges throughout England to provide targeted presentations and offer targeted support. Help Me I’m a Medic has won two UnLtd national awards and has built up an online community of over 4000 in the space of two years.

Dr Lewis Potter has built his GeekyMedics network of medical students all over the world sharing skills, knowledge and new techniques to support training and revision. The GeekyMedics app has now been downloaded more than 4 million times worldwide, offering support on all aspects of doctor training.

NHS England’s National Clinical Lead for Innovation, Professor Tony Young, has spearheaded the programme’s development.

He said: “When NHS England and Health Education England designed this programme back in 2016, there was no avenue for entrepreneurial doctors to get the training they needed without leaving the NHS for the private sector. The Clinical Entrepreneur programme is reversing this brain drain for physicians and surgeons, but we have great innovative people throughout the NHS, and need to offer the same kinds of opportunities across all our clinical professions. Opening the programme to healthcare scientists and dentists is the first step of this rollout.”

Chief Scientific Officer Sue Hill said: “We are delighted to open up this fantastic opportunity to our Healthcare Scientists. This prestigious programme focuses on applying biology in healthcare applications, and is the next step to enabling scientists within the NHS to partner with and learn from leaders in industry, research centres and academia in order to translate discovery into clinical use for medical innovation within the NHS. Scientific innovation and entrepreneurialism is crucial in establishing new partnerships which ensure we have a sustainable and efficient NHS, now and into the future.”

Chief Dental Officer Sara Hurley added: “Innovative new programmes make a big difference. Oral health, especially among children, is a really important indicator of a person’s general health now and in the future, so the technologies supporting good dental care in the home will continue to have a huge role to play as they keep getting more sophisticated. In addition, safe and effective dental treatment and surgery is a priority for everyone, and we know that it is the people who are carrying out these treatments every day who are often the most able to identify better solutions. The Clinical Entrepreneur training programme will help us harness and develop those innovative people and, ultimately, to improve the services we deliver.”

The Clinical Entrepreneur curriculum covers all aspects of setting up and running a small business, including attracting investors, applying for funding, and ensuring appropriate corporate governance. A dedicated programme in how to build a start-up – and how to operate in this highly-charged environment – is delivered as a series of educational events attended by industry mentors.

The training programme for healthcare scientists and dentists will begin in autumn 2017.