Locum’s Nest, a UK technology startup aiming to disrupt the way NHS hospitals staff temporary doctor vacancies, has raised $1.4 million (£1.1 million) in a round led by UK investment manager Albion Capital and Oman-based innovation firm IDO Investments.
While the word "locum" might not be familiar to US readers, it is used in the rest of the English-speaking world to mean “substitute” or “stand-in”. In the UK, NHS hospitals have traditionally used locum agencies to fill temporary staffing gaps, but those agencies can end up costing hospitals quite a bit on top of what they pay locum doctors.
With Locum’s Nest, doctors and hospitals can sign up for a mobile device-based system that efficiently places available doctors with vacant spots with a “pay as you go” structure that's designed to save hospitals money.
“The idea was born out of our mutual frustration with the system for recruiting locum doctors,” Dr. Nicholas Andreou, co-founder of Locum’s Nest, said in a statement, referring to himself and his cofounder Dr. Ahmed Shahrabani. “We’ve both done shifts as locum doctors and we had a feeling that the hospital and the doctors would get a better service and more satisfaction if they organized the shifts themselves.”
The service is currently live at two NHS Trusts, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where it has saved hospitals over £400,000 pounds this year, according to Locum’s Nest.
“Doctors can’t be forced to work more shifts than they already do but through a combination of transparency, convenience and fun, Locum’s Nest has managed to make a very bureaucratic process much easier,” Shahrabani said in a statement. “We are thrilled to be working with Albion and IDO, with their industry expertise we are confident that Locum’s Nest can make a positive impact to the NHS at a national level.”