The tyranny of Excel spreadsheets continues, and in particular rostering staff. Nowhere is this more acutely felt in today’s COVID-stressed hospital wards, which are now not only depleted by disease, but burned out by the patch-over or under-scheduling of staff hours. Two doctors realized this and decided to form a startup.
Patchwork Health has now raised £3.5m from Pratura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures, the investment arm of BMJ (a global healthcare provider and publisher of BMJ).
Founded in 2016 by NHS doctors Anas Nadar and Jing Ouyang, the platform is now used by over 70 NHS sites to fill vacant shifts and offer flexible working hours to staff. It could not have come sooner: there are currently 90,000 vacancies in the NHS and 1 in 5 workers are said to be considering leaving due to stress and exhaustion.
Patchwork replaces this spreadsheet with a dashboard that predicts when temporary workers will be needed. The shifts are broadcast on an app and temporary workers use the app to select the shifts that are suitable for them. Passport of credentials, HR paperwork, and payment are all handled through a single system. The startup says that without a staff shortage in NHS wards, full-time health workers can have their personal preferences reflected in their rota.
Dr Nader said: “We are already partnering with over 70 NHS sites to tackle the root causes of burnout, provide more options to full-time and temporary staff, and build stronger staffing foundations for hospitals Flexible working and safely staffed wards can move side-by-side through our technology and services.”
David Foreman, Managing Director of Pratura Ventures and Non-Executive Director of Patchwork, said: “From the moment we met Anas and Jing, we could see the passion for their business. Patchwork is helping solve the staffing crisis in the NHS. They have made real progress over the past 18 months and have the potential to make a seismic change in the way workers are organized in one of the world’s largest health care systems.