Our Entrepreneurs. Rakhee Patel

Meet #OurEntrepreneurs. Introducing Dr Rakhee Patel a Dental Consultant in Public Health and Primary Care based in Greater London

Tell us a bit about yourself 

Since achieving my dental degree in 2006 from Cardiff University, I have worked across primary care, secondary care, academia and public health.

Early in my career, I took a role as a primary care dentist working in care homes, which developed interest in ‘Ageing Well’. Having completed my Masters in Dental Public Health in 2009, I moved to Bristol Dental School to undertake my specialty training as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow.  I was successful in securing an NIHR doctoral research fellowship in 2014.

Following maternity leave, since 2016, I have been working as a Consultant in Dental Public Health at PHE (now NHSEI) as well as undertaking my PhD at King’s College London and working as a working as a care homes dentist. 

Name: Rakhee Patel, NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Cohort 6

Occupation: Dental Consultant in Public Health and Primary Care, NHS England and Improvement

Why did you apply to the programme and what are you looking forward to? 

I have spent my career advocating for the importance of oral health for our vulnerable care home residents. I was standing on my ‘soap box’ pressing for the need and opportunity to tackle this issue and a friend who did CEP programme previously suggested applying with my proposal. 

Developing my idea and learning how to land it. I haven’t ever done anything like this, so it is very new for me, but I am really looking forward to the challenge of expanding my knowledge. 

Tell us about your innovation  

I have spent my career to date from all aspects learning about and delivering for care home residents. Over this time, I have been building the idea of what is needed across the system, to deliver impactful change for our vulnerable residents. 

 I have developed pieces of work to support care homes over the years, but the appetite to do something different and at scale for the care home landscape has been varied.  

COVID 19 demonstrated how complex social care environments can be abut also opened an opportunity for digital innovations in a way not previously feasible and so I feel now is the time to be able to deliver an innovative programme that can really help improve the oral health of people in care and ultimately their quality of life. 

What motivates you? 

I remember the feeling I had when I did my first domiciliary visit. I was surprised to see so much dental disease and was really saddened by the impact it was having. Over the years, residents have told me they don’t smile or socialise or they can’t eat because of the condition of their mouth. I don’t think its right or fair that at the later stages of your life, anyone should be deprived of the pleasure of eating what you want and being who you want, and I want to try and change this for all care home residents, not just the ones I treat. 

What are your ambitions for the next year?

I would like to spend the year thinking through what is realistic and feasible and learning as much as I can. I would like to develop a prototype of the service and explore social enterprises models. 

How can we find out more?

To find out more please contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter


Published by Lucy Dentice

Deputy Programme Manager for the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.