We interview Dr Anas Nader, founder of LocumTap – a platform that connects clinicians with vacant shifts – about the journey, challenges and highlights of his business.
What is LocumTap?
LocumTap is a marketplace app that connects clinicians directly to vacant shifts in hospitals and other healthcare organisations. By eliminating the middlemen, our app ultimately increases staffing levels, improves safety of clinical services and reduces the need for expensive recruitment agencies.
LocumTap was built in partnership with the Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, where it has been shown to substantially increase fill rates (≻90%) and save millions of pounds in agency fees, rises in pay rates, and service inefficiencies. LocumTap has since been adopted by many NHS Trusts across the country and was recently selected for the national Flexible working / Staff Banks pilot sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
How did you found it?
LocumTap was founded by Dr Anas Nader and Dr Jing Ouyang, who are both NHS doctors with a passion for technology and innovation.
As I became the lead of Medical Temporary Staffing in Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, I was uniquely positioned to understand the challenges our healthcare system was facing. In 2016 hospitals spent £3.7bn on temporary staffing (i.e. locums), which is largely attributed to external agencies charging significant commissions. At the time, the staff bank was using analogue methods and legacy software to manage their temporary staffing requirements. It was quickly recognised that technology could transform and scale the staff bank, which served as the inspiration for LocumTap. Because the current methods for managing flexible healthcare workers are outdated, bureaucratic and frustrating for both clinicians and managers, we came up with a software that drastically improves the experience for all user groups, leading to better management of existing resources and a happier workforce.
How does it differ from what’s already out there?
There are several technology providers that have build different tools to address this challenge. We are unique in that we built a product from within the NHS to address the frustrations from the perspectives of both the employer as well as the locum clinician. Clinicians benefit from our ‘locum app’ that improves their flexible working experience, by allowing them to create a digital passport to join staff banks, stay informed of relevant vacancies, and instantly book into shifts – paperless and hassle free. This enabled us to create a dynamic marketplace where employers gain direct access to thousands of clinicians whilst also benefiting from the efficiencies of a streamlined temporary staffing management system.
LocumTap has transformed our staff bank! The trust has reduced its agency spend by significantly improving our bank fill rates. Our service managers have better control over their locum activity, and the clinicians love the app too. – Rob Hodgkiss, Chief Operating Officer of Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust
What are your hopes regarding GovStart?
Ultimately, our goal is to deliver substantial cost savings and better staffing levels, helping with the ambition to create a more sustainable NHS. Through GovStart, we hope to work more closely with the Department of Health and the NHS’ leadership and regulatory bodies to facilitate more flexible working in healthcare using technologies such as LocumTap. We believe that PUBLIC will help us connect with the relevant civil servants and politicians as well as give us the necessary support for future fundraising campaigns.
How do you think working life will change in the NHS?
Clinicians are demanding more flexibility in the workplace and employers are looking for better ways to engage with workers to improve their recruitment & retention efforts whilst reducing their reliance on agencies. We strongly believe innovative flexible working models will be essential for a sustainable NHS workforce.
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