Patchwork Health, the healthcare staffing platform founded by doctors, has raised £3.5m to accelerate its mission to solve the NHS burnout crisis.  

The funding, from Praetura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures, comes as an NHS workforce ’emergency’ is declared and waiting lists reach record highs. 

Founded in 2016 by NHS doctors Anas Nader and Jing Ouyang, Patchwork Health’s workforce technology and services are used by over 70 NHS sites to fill vacant shifts and offer staff flexible working, helping to stem the tide of clinicians leaving the health service due to burnout and poor work-life balance.  

The NHS currently has 90,000 vacancies and 1 in 5 staff are considering quitting due to rising levels of stress and exhaustion. Services provided by Patchwork – which featured on our MedTech 50 ranking recently – have so far enabled over 1.7 million hours of NHS shifts to be sustainably staffed and saved the NHS an estimated £21 million in temporary staffing fees.

During the pandemic, a Patchwork-powered COVID-19 staff bank for doctors in North West London saw 14 local hospitals (including Chelsea Westminster and Imperial) create a shared pool of staff to cover absences and respond to peaks in demand. 

Since then, a range of collaborative ‘staff banks’ have become permanent fixtures across the UK. This includes the largest collaborative staff bank in the country, after Patchwork brought together over 18 NHS Trusts and 6,000 doctors in the North West of England.  

“The NHS is facing a workforce crisis. Burnout is at record levels and more staff are planning to leave than ever before,” Dr Nader said. “And the systems which manage the NHS workforce are exacerbating the problem.  

“As a doctor, I know how frustrating it is to feel like a number on a spreadsheet rather than a human being with a life outside of work – it’s a key driver in pushing people out of the healthcare profession.  

“If we’re reaching burnout, we have two options: put up with it or quit. Our technology and services are making a different, better way possible.

“We’re already partnering with over 70 NHS sites to tackle the root causes of burnout, offer full-time and temporary staff more choices, and create stronger staffing foundations for hospitals. Through our technology and services, flexible work and safely staffed wards can go hand in hand.  

“We’re so grateful to our NHS partners, and to the teams at Praetura Ventures and BMJ New Ventures, for making this possible and enabling us to scale up our services at a time of critical need.” 

David Foreman, Managing Director at Praetura Ventures and Non-Executive Director of Patchwork, added: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Patchwork team. From the moment we met Anas and Jing, we could see the passion for their business. Patchwork is helping to solve a staffing crisis in the NHS.  

“They’ve made real strides over the last 18 months and have the potential to make seismic changes in the way we organise staff in one of the world’s largest healthcare systems.”