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Empowering NHS HealthTech Innovators Through the Clinical Entrepreneur Programme

Topic : Type : Case Study

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme (CEP), is an NHS England initiative delivered by Anglia Ruskin University. It is the largest entrepreneurial workforce development programme of its kind for NHS staff, offering training in commercial skills and innovation. Since its inception, over 1,000 healthcare professionals have joined, benefiting from mentoring, networking, and tailored training to turn ideas into solutions for the NHS. The programme is also significant, as it supports economic growth by allowing participants to innovate within healthcare, providing comprehensive resources including one-to-one mentoring, business planning, educational events, and access to investment opportunities.

One such example includes MediShout, a digital solution that connects healthcare teams and improves operational efficiency, so staff can provide better care. MediShout is the brainchild of Ash Kalraiya, an orthopaedic surgeon for over 10 years, who joined the first cohort of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme in 2016.

Like many HealthTech innovations, it was something so simple that sparked Ash’s business. In his case, it was a broken light bulb in a theatre that caused three cancelled operations. This small issue had a big impact, and from there, an idea was born. But like any great idea, the journey from concept to creation is a challenge. This is where the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, and its dedicated network of supporters, really came into its own.

For Ash, it was speaking to Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Strategy & Improvement Officer, Charlotte Williams, a long-term supporter and advocate for the entrepreneurs programme. Charlotte’s network and relationships with more established HealthTech businesses, and a deep understanding of their capabilities, meant that she was able to connect Ash with B. Braun, and their Head of Value & Access, Michael Cullen.

As Charlotte says: “We aim to collaborate with anyone who has got the right ideas that can bring benefits to our patients and staff within the NHS. I speak to companies all of the time and so when I heard about what Ash was trying to achieve, I knew immediately that B. Braun would be a great partner. I also believe that the NHS has a big role to play in reducing duplication and encouraging suppliers to work together better, to streamline the market, rather than complicating it.”

B. Braun have collaborated the NHS CEP for a number of years, providing high quality mentors to the programme, Ash would go on to meet Michael and the wider B. Braun team through this connection. That meeting provided the opportunity for Ash to share his own lived experience of working within the healthcare system, ensuring that his ambitions for MediShout were aligned with B. Braun’s vision for supporting the NHS workforce.  

Michael adds: “We are now at the end of the first pilot together and we are really happy with the results, which are already starting to make a difference, and there is much more to come! I regularly bounce ideas off Charlotte, who connected us with Ash, and having those advocates within the system, who see beyond the norm and strive to meet those unmet needs, is just so important.”

For Michael and Ash, their partnership is also reflective of wider trends in the industry. As Ash comments: “The NHS has stated its commitment to digitisation, but this is not the easiest thing in the world to do, especially at huge scale. For large companies, suddenly providing digital services is a big undertaking, and so it makes sense to partner with a smaller company to combine ideas and capacity and focus on proving a pilot.”

However, partnership in isolation is no good, you need that clinical partner and this is where Charlotte and the team at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust are really forward thinking in that regard. They understand how to take innovation and have an end point, so between the three of us it really works.”

Lucy Dentice is the National Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme at Anglia Ruskin University. She adds: “The beauty of the programme is that for so long, medics had to choose between innovating and staying in the NHS. The programme addresses that and gives the NHS workforce an outlet to support their skills and push their ideas forward.”

Charlotte reflects that there is no quick route into the NHS, but if you can ensure that you are aligned with what is best for patients and staff, then you are well placed for success. “The entrepreneur programme enriches staff and provides a vehicle to engage with industry in a different way. The more the companies can offer to the broader NHS workforce the better, so I always suggest making sure that your values are really clear. After all, everyone has the best interests of the NHS, and the patients it serves, at heart.”

Reflecting on the strength of the programme, Lucy comments: “Right from the outset, entrepreneurs benefit from a vibrant and supportive community. The programme encompasses top-tier mentors, industry experts, and collaboration with NHS trusts. The collective experience of this network aims to accelerate entrepreneurial ideas and personal development for the benefit of the NHS.”


If you are interested in knowing more about the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, please contact the team at or visit