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BMJ invests in health tech startup to help hospitals better manage demand for NHS locum staff

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BMJ invests in health tech startup to help hospitals better manage demand for NHS locum staff

The company has acquired a minority interest in Patchwork (formerly Locum Tap)

Healthcare knowledge provider BMJ has acquired a minority interest in health tech startup, Patchwork (formerly known as Locum Tap), to help hospitals better manage demand for NHS locum staff, it has announced.

Patchwork is a digital platform, founded in 2016 by Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang, two NHS doctors with a passion for technology and innovation.

Patchwork connects hospital trusts directly with locum clinicians, enabling them to book shifts in real-time without having to rely on agencies, so helping them better manage staffing levels and improve patient safety.

Many trusts have used agency staff primarily to help them manage peaks and troughs in demand, but some have now become reliant on agency staff for this.

Figures* show that NHS spending on agency staff 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 staff 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 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. We are confident that with BMJ’s support, Patchwork will continue to make a positive impact on the NHS and its dedicated healthcare workers.”


Further information please contact:
BMJ Media Relations team / +44 (0)20 3655 5022/3

For out of hours urgent media inquiries only, please call  +44 (0)7388 708 030

Notes for Editors
*The Nuffield Trust   
NHS England

About BMJ
BMJ is a global healthcare knowledge provider with a vision of helping to create a healthier world. We share knowledge and expertise to improve experiences and outcomes worldwide. Explore our full list of products and resources at

About Patchwork (formerly LocumTap)
Patchwork is a tech company that connects healthcare workers directly with employers, saving the NHS millions in agency fees and improving the experience of flexible workers.  

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