What is a privilege? Privilege is democratic healthcare — a healthcare system, the largest unified system in the world — open and free to all at the point of use. We, in the UK, are a privileged society.

(image credit; NHS leadership academy)

(image credit; NHS leadership academy)

Privilege, as a doctor is real; the experience of trust that another human imparts to you at their most vulnerable moment is responsible gift to every clinician. Part of our responsibility is changing our world for the better in a new technologically enabled landscape. It’s also an imperative laid out by our chief executive Simon Stevens who is responsible for delivering a £30m saving by 2020. That’s 4 years. Never before did we require efficiency and innovation than ever before.

The NHS treats and sees 1m people every 36 hours and employs 1.4m people. It has a powerful procurement machine, a countrywide network, and is sought out by leaders and civilians worldwide for sharing lessons and best practice. These factors suggest that it may be the best place to achieve what the eminent cardiologist and author of The creative destruction of medicine, Eric Topol suggests is necessary: mobilising a wave of engaged users to drive disruption in our antiquated healthcare systems. Not insignificantly, it may also be the safest place to do this. With big data such as genomic and other omic datasets, there is a new race for database security to protect our society from increased power and vested interests of big corporations. It’s collaborate or be outcompeted. At a national level, a lot is at stake.

I’m privileged to be a fellow of a new Clinical Entrepreneur programme, devised by the NHS’s National Director of Innovation, Professor Tony Young. He is the fireball force who sees a wave of change occurring.

The CE programme is just one part of his future view for the NHS. Prf. Young understands that mobilising and carving a pathway for the talents and entrepreneurialism that the NHS currently has is a necessary piece of the puzzle.

We are hot off the heels of Exponential Medicine 2016, a cosmic conference of new ideas and, with them new challenges. From reconstructing your face with your genome, to predicting a heart attack from the tone of your voice. The NHS is neatly poised to incorporate some of these technologies and our success will be determined by our ability to engage with our users, our patients, their families, and the oft forgotten fourth factor, our employees.

If we are to truly move from an Illness care model to a Wellness Care model, with our democratic system intact, we need to hitch onto the technologies that’ll take us there.


NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Fellow Rozelle Kane is a UK-based Doctor with an interest in disruptive food development. Check out her blog on medium here.