NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme stands as a testament to the incredible work of Professor Tony Young OBE and his amazing team lead by Polly bridging the gap between healthcare and innovation in the UK. First launched in 2016 by NHS England in partnership with Health Education England (HEE), this unique initiative is designed to foster and cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities within the healthcare industry. The programme has been instrumental in creating a new breed of clinical entrepreneurs who are driven to change the status quo, and in doing so, transform healthcare services for the better. We’re incredibly proud to be part of that programme, with our Clinical Director joining the programme in 2018 and becoming a mentor and supporter of not only the CENT programme, but for healthcare innovation in the UK.

Programme Overview

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur programme provides clinicians and healthcare professionals with the required mentorship, skills, and knowledge to translate their innovative ideas into a marketable product or service. The programme's reach extends across all medical disciplines, but they’ve been very proactive towards allied healthcare practitioners such as physiotherapists. The CENT programme is a very diverse and inclusive programme.

The initiative, over a year-long duration, offers participants access to a range of resources, including entrepreneurship masterclasses, networking opportunities, mentorship from industry leaders, internships, and customer interactions. This comprehensive training and exposure equip the participants to handle the complex demands of creating healthcare innovations that can be scaled and implemented efficiently.

Impacts and Success Stories

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur programme has seen remarkable success since its inception. At the Big Pitch in 2023, Professor Young announced that NHS Clinical Entrepreneurs had raised over £800m in funding and investment in their innovations and startups in the last 8 years. A truly remarkable achievement. Several promising solutions have been born out of the programme including heart transplants, blood analysis, drone medical deliveries, and addressing crucial healthcare challenges such as long waiting times, inadequate access to services, and limitations in current treatment modalities.

Challenges and Future Directions

While the programme has seen significant success, it's not without challenges. Innovation within the healthcare sector is a complex process, fraught with regulatory hurdles, funding constraints, and the need for rigorous validation. The programme, therefore, constantly evolves to best support its participants in overcoming these obstacles.

Looking to the future, the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme aims to continue expanding its network, bringing in more diverse minds and fostering increased interdisciplinary collaboration. Furthermore, it is set to play a vital role in the UK's vision of becoming a global leader in health and life sciences.

In conclusion, the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme is a game-changer, harnessing the creative potential of healthcare professionals to drive innovation in the sector. By empowering clinicians to become entrepreneurs, the programme is playing a critical role in reshaping healthcare, contributing to better patient outcomes, and creating a robust, dynamic healthcare ecosystem in the UK. Thank you to the incredible NHS CENT team who have supported Surrey Physio Group.

For more information, you can go to https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/clinical-entrepreneur