An Edinburgh-based technology start-up that helps people find the care to meet their needs has landed a deal with NHS England as it aims to “disrupt” the £20 billion market.
Care Sourcer, launched last year by former healthcare executives Andrew McGinley and co-founder Andrew Parfery, said the contract comes as the care sector faces “unprecedented operational challenges”.
The firm said that its technology platform, which matches care seekers with care providers, builds on the experience it has gained by serving care homes and individuals in Edinburgh and across the Lothians. The care market is estimated at more than £20bn across the UK, with a delayed discharge cost to the NHS of more than £2 million a day.
Since founding Care Sourcer in June, McGinley and Parfery said they have built a customer base that includes care home groups as well as live-in and home care providers. In December, the start-up secured a £50,000 cash injection at the annual Scottish EDGE awards, where 21 of Scotland’s most promising entrepreneurs pitched their businesses to an expert panel of judges.
McGinley, who serves as the company’s chief executive, said: “Our clear mission is to reduce delayed discharge across the UK by helping individuals in need of care find a provider as quickly as possible and we know we can do this because the status quo is not working for anyone.
“The NHS contract is an exciting development for the company and comes at a time when we are actively engaged in securing the first round of external funding to take us into our next phase of growth.”
The deal was announced by the NHS England Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Healthcare, which has given a total of eight companies £700,000 to “develop innovations to increase efficiency and relieve pressure in NHS acute care settings”.
Shirlene Oh, director of commerce at Imperial College Health Partners, said: “Hospitals across the country are under significant pressure during the winter period. Academic health science networks are working together to find innovative solutions which address patient flow through hospital systems and acute care.”
SBRI Healthcare said the eight firms will be supported and fully funded as the aim to prove their concepts during a six-month development phase. Those that demonstrate the best value and greatest technical feasibility will progress through to a second phase as they take their technologies through to commercialisation.
Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing & Care, one of Care Sourcer’s clients, said: “The UK’s population as a whole is ageing, and local authorities as well as private individuals need innovative solutions to meet demand while improving quality.
“Applications such as Care Sourcer will therefore have an even bigger role to play in providing vulnerable people with the quality care they require, on their terms.”