Manchester’s Praetura Ventures and Social Chain co-founder Dominic McGregor are part of a consortium backing Patchwork Health with £20m of Series B funding.
The healthcare workforce platform will use the funding to accelerate its work tackling the NHS staffing crisis. The funding round was led by Perwyn and backed by Praetura and KHP Ventures. They were joined by a range of prominent angel investors, including Monzo founder Tom Blomfield and Social Chain co-founder Dominic McGregor.
Founded in 2016 by NHS medics Dr Anas Nader and Dr Jing Ouyang, Patchwork partners with over 100 healthcare sites across the UK. Their technology and services transform healthcare staffing.
This investment comes as nearly half of NHS staff have reported feeling unwell as a result of work related stress in the last 12 months, and one in five say they are likely to leave their organisation in the next year. This staffing crunch is occurring against the backdrop of record waiting lists, with 6.6m people waiting to start treatment.
Patchwork, which in March 2022 was named Staffing Solution of the Year by the HSJ, works to reverse these trends. It provides tech-powered solutions that address staffing challenges and allow NHS teams to manage their permanent and temporary workforce through one fully-integrated platform.
This includes powering tech-enabled staff banks for temporary workers, reducing reliance on expensive agency middle men and giving hospitals the power to increase direct engagement with existing temporary staff, access new networks of clinicians directly, and broadcast all their shifts through an app. This both saves money and speeds up the filling of vacant shifts. Trusts using the Patchwork system have reported increases of up to 48 per cent in the number of temporary shifts for doctors getting filled.
Patchwork also helps NHS Trusts and health boards team up with others in their region to create collaborative staff banks to pool their networks of temporary staff and allow clinicians to safely move between hospitals easily and work where they are needed most. Patchwork is behind the largest collaborative staffing bank in the UK, having brought 24 organisations in the North West together to help ease staffing pressures in the region.
For permanent healthcare staff, the Patchwork platform offers rostering software which transforms how they work. The technology enables staff to have their personal needs and preferences factored into their rota, promoting better work-life balance and stemming the flow of staff resigning due to burnout. Crucially, Patchwork makes this flexibility for clinicians compatible with safely staffed wards by giving rota managers the tools and access to data they need for effective and dynamic workforce planning. This represents a huge step-change for healthcare, where rigid rostering has long been a hallmark.
Overall, the Patchwork solution saves the NHS money, ensures healthcare settings are safely staffed, and offers all clinicians a desperately needed route to a more flexible and sustainable way of working.
Patchwork co-founder and CEO, Dr Anas Nader, said: “NHS staff are resilient, resourceful and deeply committed to their work. But they’re not superheroes. As the world of work shifts around them, NHS staff are locked into rigid schedules whilst demand escalates. This is pushing clinicians out of healthcare careers as they’re too exhausted to continue. And that heaps further pressure on those who remain. It’s a vicious cycle we can ill-afford. At Patchwork, we work closely with NHS organisations to design technology-powered solutions that allow all staff to have their needs, preferences, and wellbeing put front and centre of workforce strategies. Our solution gives the NHS the power to make this sustainable staffing a reality, whilst improving staffing levels and safeguarding the quality of patient care.”
David Foreman, MD at Praetura Ventures, which is backing Patchwork for the third time, added: “As long-standing partners of Patchwork, we want to continue to support their team as they scale. Their team is motivated by a unifying purpose: to make life better for NHS staff and to secure better outcomes for patients. This fuels everything they do and is the passion behind their ongoing success.”