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Business & Economy

Guest contributor: Leading the way on innovation

With Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust one of ten test-bed sites across the country for healthcare development, Charlotte Fox, the operator’s commercial enterprise team business innovation manager, tells North East Times Magazine why the organisation is primed to continue leading the way when it comes to pioneering interventions and skills development.

Words by Charlotte Fox, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commercial enterprise team’s business innovation manager


Innovation in healthcare is the driving force behind providing the best outcomes for patients.

My role is all about supporting innovators at Newcastle Hospitals to make their ideas a reality, to work in partnership with industry and play an active role in collaborating with colleagues throughout the regional and national health and care system.

Ultimately, our aim is to reduce inequalities and improve the health of people in the North East, in a sustainable and high-quality way.

As part of the wider commercial enterprise team, I work with colleagues, SMEs and industry to understand what the issues are – finding the pinch points, the problems and seeking out those innovative solutions to help bring bright ideas through.

And where the ideas don’t yet exist, we look at how to create them through conversations, events and collaboration.

At Newcastle Hospitals, we’re working with some talented innovators within our region and beyond, to test and evaluate their ideas and roll them out to make a difference for patients, families and staff, as part of the NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.

The first – CPDmatch – the brainchild of Dr Richard Hixson, provides equitable access to continued professional development opportunities via a technology platform.

Users create their own profile and the website searches and signposts them to relevant courses in the region, nationally and internationally.

They are then automatically notified of new events which ‘match’ their subjects of interest.

The platform supports global, equitable access to healthcare training, allowing people from all over the world to access courses and opportunities.

This aligns with our Clinical Skills Academy, which is leading the design and delivery of a 21st century curriculum to provide people in healthcare with the right knowledge and expertise to ensure the highest standards in patient care.

The academy will launch at the end of 2022, and will be accessible via a website, which incorporates the CPDmatch platform. Initiatives like this are just some of those taking place across the country as part of the NHS England Clinical Entrepreneur Programme, which enables employees to develop and spread innovations and commercial ideas.

Innovators can grow their ideas while working in the NHS, with the aim of fostering an entrepreneurial culture and providing wider benefit to economic growth through inward investment in the health, social care and life science sectors.

It’s extremely rewarding to nurture, support and unlock innovative thinking and opportunities in the NHS.

We all want to provide the best possible services and care for patients, and it is really exciting to help colleagues realise their bright ideas, pioneer new technologies and connect the NHS with industry and companies to collaborate on ground-breaking initiatives.