Healthtech startup Patchwork Health has just raised €24 million to address the growing staffing crisis in the healthcare sector. Built by doctors for doctors, the platform is now planning to expand from the UK across European and international markets.
A global pandemic, drastic funding cuts, labour shortages, and supply chain issues. Just a couple of things the healthcare sector has had to deal with in the past decade (if not longer). It means that now, healthcare providers across Europe are in a state of crisis. Healthcare staff are bearing the brunt of it, with shocking numbers suffering from burnout and work-related stress.
It’s been reported that, in the UK, nearly half of all healthcare staff have felt unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months and 1 in 5 have said they are likely to leave their organisation in the next year. This staffing crunch is occurring against the backdrop of record waiting lists, with 6.6 million people waiting to start treatment. And these trends are being reflected across the continent.
Aiming to do something about it, Patchwork Health is scaling up.
Patchwork Health: By Doctors for Doctors
Founded in 2016 by NHS medics, Dr Anas Nader and Dr Jing Ouyang, Patchwork Health is a pioneering healthcare workforce platform. It provides tech-powered solutions that address staffing challenges and allow healthcare teams to manage their permanent and temporary workforces through one fully-integrated platform.
Co-Founder and CEO, Dr Anas Nader, commented: “Healthcare staff are resilient, resourceful and deeply committed to their work. But they’re not super heroes. As the world of work shifts around them, 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. Too many clinicians have, like myself and my co-founder, found themselves trapped in a schedule which can grind you down and push you out of a career you love.”
We chatted to Dr Anas Nader earlier this year to find out more about his inspiring story of being a doctor-turned-entrepreneur after suffering burnout.
Patchwork’s offering includes powering tech-enabled ‘staff banks’ for temporary workers – the vital clinicians who step in when a shift can’t be filled by a permanent member of staff. The Patchwork model radically reduces reliance on the expensive locum agency ‘middle man’ and instead gives hospitals the power to increase engagement with existing temporary staff, access new networks of clinicians directly, and broadcast all their shifts through an app.
It saves hospitals money, ensures healthcare settings are safely staffed and offers all clinicians a desperately needed route to a more flexible and sustainable way of working.
The startup also helps healthcare organisations team up with others in their region to create ‘collaborative staff banks’; making it possible for them 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.
And for permanent healthcare staff, the Patchwork platform offers rostering software and solutions which transform how they work. Their 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 of staffing.
Dr Anas Nadar added: “Healthcare staffing isn’t working for healthcare staff; but it can be fixed with the right tools. At Patchwork, we work closely with healthcare 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 healthcare sites the power to make this sustainable staffing a reality, whilst improving staffing levels and safeguarding the quality of patient care. We’re so grateful to Perwyn and all the investors involved in this round for enabling us to scale up this mission and help even more healthcare professionals work in a sustainable way.”
Today, the impact-driven startup has announced a €24 million capital injection at a pertinent moment in the healthcare space.
The Series B round was led by Perwyn and backed by Praetura Ventures 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.
Martin le Huray, Partner at Perwyn, said: “Anas, Jing and their team are building a truly game-changing solution for the NHS. The traditional way of staffing our NHS is outdated and is contributing to the pressures our health service is facing. Their track record of working closely with the NHS to affect change is very impressive and we are delighted to have led this round. We believe that Patchwork is well on its way to playing a pivotal role in creating a stronger, more sustainable healthcare system for future generations.”
Now, with this fresh funding, the team are ready to accelerate expansion into wider European and international markets and bring their services to new areas of health and a wider range of sectors.
David Foreman, Managing Director at Praetura Ventures, said: “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. We can’t wait to continue on this journey with them as they go from strength to strength.”
Patchwork, which has scaled its team to over 100, will use this investment to further strengthen its customer-facing teams, ensuring all healthcare partners continue to receive the hands-on, proactive support needed to make each roll-out a success, alongside expansion into new global markets and a wider range of sectors.
Daniel Dickens, Co-Managing Partner at KHP Ventures, added: “As an early-stage fund anchored by one the UK’s largest healthcare systems, it was a natural fit to support two brilliant clinical entrepreneurs in Anas and Jing, and their talented team, to scale a platform that addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS. We were incredibly impressed with their roadmap and traction to date, and look forward to working with Patchwork’s team and our partners to help accelerate their growth and impact for NHS staff and patients.”