A community clinic founded by a Cranfield alumna has been lending its services to support the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.
Milton Keynes-based Makewell launched last year in the midst of lockdown with the aim of providing affordable healthcare that bridges the gap between public health services and high-end private care.
But for its founder, nurse Jane Lambert, other priorities quickly took centre-stage as the full scale of the COVID pandemic became apparent.
She said: “We went ahead with the opening because we realised the potential we had as clinicians to contribute as the situation changed. We were in the right place at a dreadfully difficult time.
“We’ve been able to support the NHS and, because we are very familiar with its systems and restructures, we’ve slotted easily into whatever has been required.”
Clinicians from Makewell and its parent company ECG Training have been conducting COVID testing and are supporting Milton Keynes University Hospital in rolling out its vaccination programme against the virus.
The team was even acknowledged by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons, after ECG’s efforts were mentioned by Milton Keynes North MP Ben Everitt.
Prior to launching ECG Training, Jane worked as a nurse in the NHS, a career she decided upon after witnessing her grandmother suffer a cardiac arrest when she was 12 years old.
Makewell, she says, grew out of seeing more people wanting to take responsibility for their health.
“Our solution for them is a safe, one-stop shop where the local community can find medical professionals offering multi-disciplinary, affordable and accessible healthcare services,” she said.
“We aim to give people more healthcare choices and to make life easier for them.”
A milestone moment in Jane’s career as an entrepreneur came when she took part in the Business Growth Programme (BGP) at Cranfield in 2018. As well as kick-starting a radical restructure and re-branding, what she learned on the programme helped her when she was forced to switch to online training as a result of the COVID lockdown last year, and needed to gain Care Quality Commission regulatory approval during the pandemic.
“Cranfield taught me how critical it was to get the strategy right,” she said. “Getting CQC approval was the priority. I committed our clinical operations manager to working on the project for over six months and it has been achieved. Having the right person doing the right job has paid off.”
Jane now employs a total of 17 staff members and 80 freelance clinicians.
Mark Threlfall, Director of Cranfield Executive Development, said: “We are always delighted when a participant on one of our programmes is able to take their business to the next level. We are very proud of everything Jane has achieved with ECG Training and Makewell so far, and look forward to seeing how the businesses develop and grow in the years to come. Their contribution to the COVID vaccination deployment is truly admirable.”
Alongside its COVID testing and vaccination services, Makewell is offering weight loss programmes, blood and allergy testing, and other vaccinations. Other services in the pipeline including health MOTs, treatments for back pain and acid reflux, facial hair removal, and support to cut down on alcohol consumption.