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NHS innovation support scheme 'on track' to be extended to nurses this year

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A training scheme for clinicians whose innovative ideas could benefit patients is expected to be extended to nurses later this year, Nursing Times understands.

The Clinical Entrepreneur programme, designed by NHS England and Health Education England, has so far enabled more than 100 junior doctors to develop their ideas and business skills.

“The clinical entrepreneur programme is reversing this brain drain”

Tony Young

The scheme, which offers a range of support and education, has now been opened up to healthcare scientists and dentists, according to an announcement this week, which made no mention of nursing.

However, the scheme will soon be extended to other healthcare professionals including nurses, allied health professionals and pharmacists, Nursing Times has been told.

Developed with the support of leading clinicians, including England’s chief nursing officer Professor Jane Cummings, it is designed to keep entrepreneurs in the NHS and reverse the “brain drain” to the private sector.

It enables healthcare professionals to take time out from clinical duties to work on their ideas, giving them access to mentoring, coaching and training opportunities, as well as help to find funding.

“An announcement on when nurses will be able to join the scheme will be made in due course”

NHS England spokesman

NHS England’s national clinical lead for innovation, Professor Tony Young, has spearheaded the programme’s development.

“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,” he said.

“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 to all our clinical professions.

“Opening the programme to healthcare scientists and dentists is the first step of this rollout,” he added.

When the scheme was set up the intention was to extend it to all doctors, medical students, dentists, medical scientists, nurses, pharmacists and AHPs in the second year.

An NHS England spokesman confirmed to Nursing Times that the scheme was due to be extended to nurses in 2017 and the body was still “well within” that timeframe.

“An announcement on when nurses will be able to join the scheme will be made in due course,” he said. “We aren’t able to comment on dates beyond that.”

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