Healthcare knowledge provider BMJ has acquired a minority interest in health tech startup, Patchwork, to help hospitals better manage demand for NHS temporary staff (locums).
This follows an investment led by the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels earlier this year, bringing the total investment in Patchwork to £2 million.
Patchwork was founded in 2016 by Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang, two NHS doctors with a passion for technology and innovation.
Patchwork is a marketplace that connects healthcare employers directly with locum clinicians.
This enables instant shift bookings which increases staffing levels, improves patient safety and significantly reduces reliance on recruitment agencies.
Many NHS Trusts have used agency locums to help them manage peaks and troughs in demand, but some have now become overly reliant on agency locums for their staffing.
Figures* show that NHS spending on agency locums increased from £2.2 billion in 2009/10 to £3.7 billion in 2015/16, although recent progress has been made in cutting around £700 million from agency locums spending to around £3 billion in 2016/17.
The decision to invest in Patchwork is part of BMJ’s focus on achieving its vision of ‘A Healthier World’ by embracing innovative ideas, products, and new technologies.
Through the BMJ New Ventures initiative, BMJ works with healthcare startups and doctor entrepreneurs who share the company’s values to help solve problems and improve healthcare.
Commenting on the move, Anca Babor, BMJ’s Strategy Director, said: “We are excited to be supporting the talented Patchwork team in their next stage of growth. Patchwork is an innovative digital solution which will make a great contribution to the future of the healthcare service through improved patient care and increased efficiencies for the NHS. Patchwork stood out with their comprehensive approach to this complex challenge.”
“This strategic partnership will strengthen our position in the medical careers space and enhance our digital offer. We look forward to similar future investments that will bring innovative ideas into BMJ.”
Dr Anas Nader, CEO and Co-founder of Patchwork, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with BMJ, a trusted brand with an excellent track record of supporting healthcare professionals throughout their career. With BMJ’s support, Patchwork will accelerate its positive impact on the NHS and its dedicated healthcare workers.”