The scheme is the first of its kind for the College and aims to encourage, empower and enable family doctors to find solutions to unmet needs in general practice, such as cutting patient waiting times or finding innovative ways to use technology in general practice to benefit patient care.
As well as generating ideas, the group will also form a peer support network for other entrepreneurial GPs. Doctors on the programme will receive mentoring, training and access to networks to accelerate innovative ideas in general practice, as well as professional development in non-clinical skills to support them to be successful entrepreneurs.
The five GP entrepreneurs are:
- Dr Campbell Murdoch: Chief Medical Officer at Gro Health, a digital health platform supporting lifestyle changes to prevent chronic illness with focus on type 2 diabetes, a condition associated with growing demand on the NHS, and high costs.
- Dr Farhan Amin: Founder of Concept Health, which uses virtual reality to provide personalised treatment to patients, facilitating trained professionals to deliver the interventions remotely to multiple patients at any one time.
- Dr Monal Wadhera: Chief Medical Officer at LiveSmart, a digital health monitoring and optimisation platform that combines digital technology, clinical data and one-to-one personalised telephone health coaching to support lifestyle changes at key times in a person's life.
- Dr Nicholas Harvey: Founder of Digitalis CPD, an intuitive and dynamic mobile app that makes accessing educational resources easier, supports group learning and addresses gaps in clinical knowledge.
- Dr Rakeeb Chowdhury: Founder of BookYourGP, a software tool which supports clinicians to automate both booking essential but routine appointments and the associated patient communications, thereby reducing administrative work and costs and freeing up healthcare professionals' time for patient care.
Dr Imran Rafi, Medical Director of the RCGP's Clinical Innovation and Research Centre, said: "General practice is currently operating under enormous pressure but thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas to help improve efficiency can make a real difference to frontline work – and in turn, our patients.
"We've heard about brilliant initiatives GPs up and down the country are doing; but there needs to be more in the way of helping these ideas mature and reach general practice sooner by providing mentoring, professional development in non-clinical skills and getting the word out about how other practices can learn from them.
"The Innovator Mentorship Programme is a great way to do that, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what other ideas our members have created to help us all continue to provide the best possible care to our patients."
Professor Martin Marshall, Vice Chair of the RCGP, said: "The College is passionate about the need to encourage and support people with new ideas and practical solutions to the challenges that GPs are facing in their day to day practice.
"The Innovator Mentorship scheme is the latest offer to our members from our expanding innovation programme. The remarkable quality of the five GP entrepreneurs that we have appointed is a testament to the talent that exists in our speciality."