NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme FAQs

Medic Footprints director and previous fellow of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme provides answers to the common questions about the programme

As a fellow on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, I’ve been asked on multiple occasions about various questions related to my experiences and the Programme itself.

I therefore thought it would be helpful to provide some answers to common questions, which can also be found in the official website.

In general, I would advise all doctors to apply regardless of your circumstances but only if:

  • You have a genuine passion for NHS healthcare and have a future commitment to the organization
  • You have a genuine or developing passion for entrepreneurialism in healthcare

Please note that the following is unofficial and experiential, taking into account the first ever cohort officially commenced in October 2016.

For formal, official answers by NHS England, please check out the official page.

1. How much time commitment is realistically required?

It’s up to you – minimum 4 pit stops (Educational group days) a year and your own self directed personal development plan which you will need to discuss with your mentor.

If you’re looking to go less than full time, this is something you need to negotiate with your employer / training Programme director / educational supervisor, depending on your needs.

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme does not organize this for you, however can support your application.

The premise of the Programme is that many doctors felt forced to leave their clinical posts when they were working on healthcare related startups, because it wasn’t seen as a legitimate reason to work less than full time.

The NHS has now recognized that innovation in healthcare drives the quality of services we deliver, hence the focus has shifted over to retaining and nurturing the talent responsible for this. The hope is to open the Programme out to all NHS workers and patients in the future.

2. What are the benefits of joining the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme?

Networking , mentorship, legitimising your work whilst continuing clinical work in the NHS, support to go Less than full time if you decided.

In practice, if you’re developing a business, the success is largely underpinned on the strengths and expertise of your contributing networks.

Plus it opens the door for multiple opportunities you may never otherwise come across.

From a personal perspective;

I receive invaluable guidance from Tony Young, my allocated formal mentor & have developed relationships with other informal mentors in the space, essential for the growth of Medic Footprints.

Networking with a diverse range of doctors in this space results in a huge melting pot – a wealth of information, reduction of silos and better chance of success in our various projects.

I was fortunate to travel with Tony and 7 Clinical Entrepreneurs to the Exponential Medicine Conference in San Diego, followed by a wicked study trip across California to various health tech hubs including Irvine, Seattle (Microsoft) and Silicone Valley!

I’ve sourced people, venues and services through the doctors on our Clinical Entrepreneurs facebook group.

I’m proud that Medic Footprints can be used as a vehicle to promote the vast range of entrepreneurial activities going on in this space.

.. and this is only within a few months!

3. I want to leave the NHS eventually – is this for me?

Not really.

This is an NHS branded talent development Programme.

If you intend to leave the NHS first chance you get for the foreseeable future, this isn’t for you.

4. I’m not sure how to pitch? How important is that part of the application?

Apparently most of the doctors applying last year were really bad at pitching – so it’s likely if you’ve had no experience, you haven’t anything to worry about.

Check out these pitching tips and my pitching video I submitted or my application to the Programme below:

You’ll likely be asked to pitch in the interview too.

5. What does the interview involve?

The interview is an exploration of your motivations, entrepreneurial skills, and developmental needs. I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was predominantly a coaching exercise – (Tony is very good at this!)

You will likely have a panel of 3 or more people from various healthcare related industries in the private and public sector.

There may be some panel members who are patient representatives or no experience in business so be prepared to satisfy a diverse mix

6. Will they keep my Intellectual Property?

They will not seek to claim any IP – they are currently developing legal documents to clarify the process.

7. Is there any funding involved?

No. The funding for this Programme is extremely limited. If you’re looking for funding support, it is your responsibility to seek this. The Programme can help connect you with organizations that may be able to assist

8. I don’t actually have a business, project etc but looking to gain experience in this area. Am I suited?

Well worth applying if you’re motivated.

9. I’ve got tons of entrepreneurial experience – do you need any mentors?

Yes they absolutely do. There is no remuneration agreement however the opportunities to network and attend the training events are plentiful. They are looking for those who can commit a minimum of 1 hour a year of their time. Mentors include Chief Execs of well known global brands, hospital consultants and representatives from SMEs

10. Where do I apply?


Good luck!

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