Healthcare startups

Expert legal support for new healthcare startups

If you are starting a healthcare business in the UK, or have already started one, there’s plenty to think about. Some examples of the questions we are often asked by people starting a healthcare business are:

  • Can I start providing services straight away?
  • How do I attract and contract with clinicians?
  • What regulations and laws do I need to be aware of?
  • How do I work with the NHS?
  • What documents do I need to have in place?
  • Does it matter what legal structure I have?

We can provide the support and level of detail that’s right for you.

Key issues

Key issues that we know healthcare startups often need help with are:

  1. Regulation of healthcare businesses in the UK: Compliance with requirements of the Care Quality Commission, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, General Medical Council and General Dental Council, amongst others, and insurance and indemnity requirements.
  2. Using technology to deliver services: advice on regulatory and legal requirements for providing services online and via smartphone apps, including advice on medical devices regulation and other telehealth matters.
  3. Contracting with patients: advice on providing private health services including law relevant to dealing with consumers and what you will need to include in your terms and conditions.
  4. Contracting with clinicians: advice on relevant employment law including key things that you need to know if employing staff or contracting for services in the UK, including advice on professional registration required for doctors or other clinicians.
  5. Legal structures for healthcare businesses: advice on the different options and help in choosing the right one (including the pros and cons of companies, LLPs and partnerships and suitable structures for social enterprise and charities).
  6. Competition compliance: advice on competition issues including restrictions on clinicians’ incentives and other matters set out in the CMA’s Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014.
  7. Data protection: advice on UK data law with advice on handling patient data, how the law may apply to your business, and the consequences of getting it wrong.
  8. Working with the NHS: an explanation of the public procurement regime, including whether you can be awarded a contract directly or need to bid for contracts, and the different types of contracts used for NHS services in the UK.
  9. Property: advice on ways of owning and occupying property for business purposes in the UK, including specific guidance for healthcare businesses.
  10. Jurisdictional issues: advice on providing health services in multiple jurisdictions, including ensuring contractual disputes are limited to the UK jurisdiction.

Our experienced team of lawyers, who have advised numerous start-ups, can provide support on all of these issues.

How we can help

We can provide bespoke advice to address your legal issues as you develop your start-up. Call us if you would like to discuss this.

Most health technology companies want to access the NHS and SMEs find this especially challenging. South East Health Technologies Alliance have spent over 10 years helping companies understand and access the NHS and have distilled all this knowledge and experience into this Guide which has been supported by Hempsons.

To receive the PDF version of this guide please click here

Our experience

As well as helping you if you’re starting a healthcare business in the UK, we are well-placed to support you as your healthcare business develops and grows. For example, we can support you with drafting or negotiating contracts, ongoing healthcare regulatory matters, employment law issues, and negotiation of leases or other property matters. Our aim is always to give clear and straightforward legal advice allowing you to concentrate on running your healthcare business.

We also have a dedicated Healthtech page – see how we can help you to leverage the new technologies, digital services and other innovations that are transforming healthcare.

Please look for the new series appearing in the Independent Practitioner Today, aimed at helping new healthcare businesses avoid potential issues they may face in different areas such as employment, IP and website ownership.

Hempsons has provided excellent advice to Balance CIC and always understood the implications of your decisions. I wholly recommend using Hempsons and will continue to do so in the future.” Andrea Biggs, Chief Executive, Balance CIC 2015

Case studiesView all

  • Development of healthcare apps

    Advising on development of healthcare apps for patients, including advising NHS Northern England Strategic Clinical Networks on its Deciding Right app for making care decisions and NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit on its Health Help Now app to enable users to find the right service for their health needs.

    View Case study
  • Setting up GP provider organisations and federations

    Advising General Practitioners across the country on transforming primary care by setting up over 50 GP provider organisations or federations to extend primary and out of hospital care services; these organisations represent a patient population in excess of 12 million and include Iceni Healthcare with 174 Practices across Norfolk and Waveney, Somerset Primary Care (94 Practices) and BIG Practice (Birmingham Integrated General Practice) of over 100 Practices.

    View Case study
  • Setting up new healthcare businesses

    Advising entrepreneurs on setting up new healthcare businesses including businesses delivering primary and community health services, medical services for foreign visitors to the UK and supplying locum doctors and nurses, including via online marketplace/gig economy models.

    View Case study

PeopleView all

NewsView all

  • Accessing the NHS: a guide for SMEs

    Most health technology companies want to access the NHS and SMEs find this especially challenging. South East Health Technologies Alliance have spent over 10 years helping companies understand and access the NHS and have distilled all this knowledge and experience into this Guide which has been supported by Hempsons.

    Continue reading
  • Health start-ups: Generating revenue from intellectual property

    Doctors in private practice and private healthcare operators are often innovators, developing software, equipment and treatments, and building a ‘brand.’ Using these more widely, both in British healthcare and further afield, could bring benefits to patients - and private practitioners are often keen to help this happen. However, they need to consider what happens to their intellectual property in their innovations. IP is a valuable asset – as is being increasingly realised by the NHS – and needs protecting.

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  • Health start-ups: Look to the future – a round-up

    "Look to the future now: it's only just begun". So sang Wolverhampton glam-rockers Slade in their well-known Christmas hit. Whilst I accept that it is still probably a little early to be getting ready for Christmas, these particular words nevertheless seem an apt way of bringing to a close our series of articles on healthcare start-ups and the increasing use of apps and technology for delivering health services.

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  • Health start-ups: Mind your Ts & Cs – the biggest lie on the internet?

    Building on the previous articles in this series which look at key legal issues doctors need to consider when starting up a healthcare business, we now turn to the contractual terms and conditions. Now, a number of people have noted that legal terms and conditions on websites and in mobile apps play a key role in what has been called ‘the biggest lie on the internet’.

    Continue reading
  • Health start-ups: Online prescribing is no panacea – the pitfalls and perils of prescribing medication online

    This is a particularly complex area so it’s as well to know what is what. Interfaces (such as Amazon, E-bay and Uber) which utilise the internet, SMS and Apps to deliver goods and services, are popular because they save time – and savvy healthcare businesses realise that patients are no different. They view time taken to make doctors’ appointments and queuing at the surgery as wasted time. Such business are capitalising on this perception by creating interfaces which allow patients to obtain prescriptions remotely (on-line, by SMS or App).

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  • Health start-ups: Using doctors to provide services for your business

    So you have a good idea for a new healthcare business and have gone so far as to develop a business plan and test the waters with potential patients and suppliers. But now you need to know a little bit more detail about legal, financial and commercial issues to move the project on – from drawing board to board room as they say.

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  • Newsflash: Digital Health Services and the CQC

    Building on the CQC guidance issued in March this year for digital health providers (see the CQC has issued an update on issues uncovered in a number of recent inspections, particularly in relation to online prescribing.

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