Beringea Portfolio Company Network Locum Raises £5.3m

Network Locum, the workplace management software that is helping the NHS save on agency staffing costs, has raised £5.3 million in a funding round led by BGF Ventures.

Network Locum provides workplace management software that helps match locum doctors with available shifts in NHS hospitals and GP practices. The service gives GP practices and hospitals access to a bank of up to 40,000 doctors and includes a speedy payment system for clinical staff, so that they are paid fortnightly for completed shifts.

The software has the potential to revolutionise the provision of locum and temporary staff to the NHS, one of the fastest growing costs for the health service*, by supplanting expensive recruitment agencies. Network Locum already provides services to hospitals and doctors in London, Manchester and Birmingham and is expected to sign contracts with several major NHS hospitals and local authorities later this year.

Melissa Morris, chief executive of Network Locum, said: “When I worked in the NHS I saw how much money was wasted on hiring locums from expensive recruitment agencies. Network Locums’s software can help hospitals and GP practices dramatically cut their spending on recruitment, as well as making sure that the best and most caring doctors are the first to be offered shifts.”

“The NHS is under such financial strain and Network Locum is a serious solution to a huge Government problem. Our investors have shown confidence in us, despite the prevailing uncertainty in the market because they can see that we have the potential to deliver for the health service. This is great news for NHS budgets, for patients who will receive a higher standard of care, and for freelance and part-time doctors, who will know that they will be paid quickly and accurately for the hours they put in, without having to chase up invoices.”

Rob Hodgkinson, Investment Director at Beringea commented “Network Locum is a dynamic business that is changing the way the NHS fulfils its requirements for locum doctors. The service benefits both doctors and the NHS by offering a streamlined process that removes a lot of the additional costs and bureaucracy currently associated with the traditional agency model. I am delighted that Network Locum has received this additional funding which will support its continued growth and roll out into new areas of the health service.”

The service charges hospitals and GP practices based on a percentage of the locum hours booked, however its fees are significantly smaller than the recruitment agencies that operate in the sector.

The service is free to use for doctors and the software allows two-way feedback from doctors and administrators, which leads to repeat bookings for the highest-rated doctors. At present, agencies are incentivised to introduce new staff, which leads to spiraling costs for budgets.

The new funding will allow Shoreditch-based Network Locum to increase its salesforce and make a big push into the hospital sector, where it is currently tendering for major government contracts. The funding will also be used to improve features on the mobile app, through which clinical staff manage their hours.

The company has previously raised £3.2 million from investors, including Beringea, through the ProVen VCTs, and Piton Capital.

*English NHS providers spent an estimated £3.7 billion on locum doctors and nurses in 2015-16. The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has criticised “rip-off staffing agencies” for charging extortionate rates.