More details have emerged about the shock decision to close MediaCityUK-based mobile health company Now Healthcare Group.

Yesterday BusinessCloud reported how the company’s CEO and founder Lee Dentith had emailed staff last week with the bombshell news that the business would close at the end of May.

BusinessCloud has been unable to contact Mr Dentith but has seen part of the email that he sent to staff.

In it he wrote: “It is with great sadness and regret that unfortunately I am today informing you that following the loss of our contract to supply services to Aviva which accounted for over 90 per cent of the telehealth business, NHG Group will cease to trade on May 31, 2020.

“Unfortunately we will also not be able to continue to trade with either the pharmacy or the telehealth as the businesses both supported each other.

“We therefore are giving you notice of termination by redundancy of your employment. You will be required to continue to work during the initial part of your notice period to service the remainder of the Aviva contract.”

Steve Bridger, managing director UK Health at Aviva*, said: “We are informing customers and their intermediaries that from the end of May, the Aviva Digital GP app that we offer on some of our policies as an added-value service will now be provided by Square Health, following a supplier review.

“We are confident the new service will enable us to continue to provide high quality services, whilst meeting our customers’ evolving digital healthcare needs.”

It’s thought around 30 people are employed across the company’s MediaCity base and its £1.5m digital pharmacy Now Pharmacy, in Mill Lane, Liverpool, which was opened in 2018 by Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor for Liverpool

Now Healthcare Group was founded in 2015 and has two brands – the Now Patient app where NHS patients can reorder repeat prescriptions and the digital GP platform Now GP, where patients can have a mobile consultation with a GP.

News of the company’s demise comes after a critical report by the Care Quality Commission into its Now GP business.

The practice was first visited on October 8, 2019 and rated “as inadequate for providing safe care”.

A warning notice was issued to the provider because “there were examples of poor prescribing which included controlled drugs; consent to share information with the patients NHS GP was not always obtained before prescribing high risk medicines; and patients were not always risk assessed appropriately”.

This was followed by subsequent visits on February 28 and March 2, 2020. The final report was published on April 4 and said: “We found the provider had made some improvements in providing safe services but further improvements were still needed.”

In 2018 the company opened up its £1.5m ‘Tele-Pharmacy’ in Liverpool, aimed at helping people living with chronic care conditions to manage their medical needs through the AI-powered mobile app Now Patient.

Now Pharmacy claimed at the time it would be able to dispense around 500,000 prescriptions per month.

In 2017 leading health cash plan provider Medicash invested £4m in the Now Healthcare Group with Medicash’s CEO Sue Weir joining the board.

Mr Dentith’s last public statement came in March 2020 in a company press release reporting that the Now Patient app had seen a 500 per cent surge in uptake of its service over the previous seven days because of COVID-19.

*subject to regulatory approval