The commercial team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) partnered with Indian start-up company Karkinos Healthcare, to bring together the fragmented provision of cancer care in southern India and generate additional revenues for GSTT that are reinvested into frontline services.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) is one of the largest, most clinically comprehensive and high quality NHS foundation trusts in the United Kingdom, enjoying an established track record of working successfully internationally for many years.
The trust uses its excellence in clinical services, education and research as the basis for this and offers everything from consultancy services to long-term partnerships. GSTT works with governments, international healthcare organisations, the military and industry to provide tailor-made solutions to its partners’ requirements. The trust has a dedicated commercial team that has led projects in many countries across the world, including ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) services in Qatar; quality assurance assessment of hospitals treating British military personnel in Germany; clinical advice in Dubai; training support for genetic counsellors in Thailand; and outreach clinics in Gibraltar.
One of these services is Guy’s Cancer Academy, which provides high-quality cancer education for healthcare professionals. In 2020, the Academy was approached by an Indian start-up company, Karkinos Healthcare, to provide blended cancer education spanning the entire patient pathway throughout their network.
What the organisations did
Karkinos had identified the fragmented nature of Indian cancer care and education, with many operators both public and private, having little interconnection. Working with Guy’s Cancer Academy in collaboration with Karkinos’ own education and training team, Karkinos positioned itself to provide a tech-led network to help bring together the disjointed provision of cancer care in southern India.
The partnership between Guy’s Cancer and Karkinos ensures that the education provided is fully aligned to Indian priorities and needs, and is delivered using the latest learning science principles and technological advances. The blended package has an online element developed in the UK and face-to-face teaching delivered in India. This approach is scalable and allows both national and international expansion with local partners, which is quality assured by Guy’s Cancer Academy. This minimises business risk, whilst maintaining the highest standards of cancer education.
This project, as with all GSTT’s international projects, underwent the scrutiny of the trust’s governance processes, requiring legal, financial and board approval. Due to its value and reputational implications, it required the CEO to approve the project.
From a financial point of view, this partnership will generate an additional income stream to the Academy, supporting the further development of cancer education for the trust. It will also fund the development of online modules available to other audiences both within the trust, more widely across the NHS, and also for an international audience. The partnership marks out the Academy as a truly international operator and places it at the vanguard of cancer education in a fast-growing, vibrant country with an ever-increasing need for world-leading cancer education.
The value to the trust of this project isn’t just financial. It presents the trust as truly international organisation that contributes to some of the biggest health challenges around the world.
Simon Hughes, lead for cancer education and training at GSTT, sees this as an opportunity for GSTT’s own clinical teams too:
“Our partnership with Karkinos Healthcare is a truly synergistic relationship, enabling us to co-develop culturally relevant digital and blended education packages that utilise the different skill sets available to each team. Our aim is to improve cancer outcomes through affordable/open-access education and training packages at local, national and international levels, with a particular focus on low/middle income countries. Working with the commercial team at GSTT has enabled us to focus on our strengths of designing and delivering education packages, whilst they have led on the contract and financial side. Without their expertise this project would have stalled at the contract stage.”
This project clearly demonstrates the value of undertaking international commercial opportunities for Guy’s and St Thomas’. Not only is the trust able to generate additional revenues that are reinvested into frontline services, it enables GSTT to extend a greater range of opportunities to clinical teams to support their professional development and allows them to contribute to the health systems of other nations.