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My Locum Choice- Revolutionising UK healthcare

My Locum Choice are looking to disrupt UK Healthcare by creating a self-serve online platform and app that will remove the reliance upon agencies and drastically improve the processes to source temporary workers, as proven with their Pharmacy MVP.

MyLocumChoice Holdings qualifies for SEIS tax relief. UK resident investors can enjoy the benefits deriving by both the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Investment Scheme Advanced Assurance.Tax reliefs always depend on the individual circumstances of the investor and might change in the future.

Our story

The Beginning

My Locum Choice began its journey late 2014 where we brought to market a concept that would change the booking process of temporary (locum) pharmacy staff for the better. For years pharmacy, much like other sectors of healthcare had utilised inefficient processes to source locums; via locum agencies and through direct channels. Agencies would charge high fees to find these workers so sourcing via direct channels were in its own right the more cost effective option but not the right one; as the reliance upon a vast network of workers would be needed to truly make this model work.

Myself, (Miraj Patel) and my partner Mitesh Shah, having had plenty of experience as locum pharmacists and pharmacy managers, stumbled upon this problem and sought a way to correct it.

Together we launched an online self-serve platform where pharmacy owners and managers could engage directly with locum pharmacists. Pharmacy owners can bypass agencies and access hundreds of locum pharmacists at their fingertips, send them invitations to work and book them in. The icing on the cake however is underpinned from our understanding of the importance of having a quality worker on site who would ensure the continuity of the business and safety to patients - having the right pharmacist is a business critical process!

Within this our platform solves a huge problem; "not only can I find locum pharmacists, but I can find those who are specifically suited to my business requirements and available on the days that I need them." The algorithms within this platform enables pharmacy owners and managers to source workers of whom have the essential experience, capabilities and accreditations required to work within their setting. Unlike agencies whose primary concern is about filling shifts, this platform focuses on the needs of the users; locum obtain work in settings they are comfortable in and can view information about the site before they accept the shifts.

Progress to date

2 years on, the company has obtained unparralled exposure in the pharmacy market. We exclusively partnered with the largest trade association for independent pharmacy professionals in the UK- the National Pharmacy Association. We have formed affiliate partnerships with leading trainers in the field, pharmacist support charities and wholesaler groups. Beyond this we have been publicised in various pharmaceutical magazines, attracted a great social media and blog following and have positioned ourselves as the one stop shop and self-serve platform for the independent sector. Having partnered with pre-registration pharmacist companies and building links with pharmacy schools/universities ensure a pipeline of locum pharmacists to our platform year upon year.

We have now also attracted interest from large retail chains and corporations encompassing 50% of the market.

Future Vision

My Locum Choice is now looking forward; we have a vision that could disrupt the healthcare industry for the better and forever. Our MVP attracted a great response with over 1,400 registered pharmacies and over 1,300 locum pharmacists joining the platform. Now it is time to expand with the resources that this investment could provide.

The crowdfunding campaign aims to grow the business in three key areas; recruiting more manpower, developing an even better platform and increasing our marketing approach. 

Self funded up until date, we have grown the business with our own capital and have been working as part of My Locum Choice full time. Yet our biggest hindrances lie in the inability of the current system to handle user capacity and requirements as well as the bandwidth available to rapidly excel the business to where we envision it to be.

Through investment we look to dominate the pharmacy sector first. This will include expanding to locum dispensers, technicians and ACT's as well as temp-perm positions. By 2020 we will have looked to replicate this platform across other sectors in healthcare, including optometry, dentistry and Medical sectors (GP’s and nursing). The final piece of the pie will lie in our expansion of the secondary care sector encompassing Hospital trusts by 2022.

The constraints on the NHS, the lack of affordable temporary workers and the inability to source such workers has put the UK healthcare sector in a tough position. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has even taken measures to reduce the amount of money used up in the NHS towards agencies and recruitment fees. No longer will we have to rely upon recruitment agencies that have cost the healthcare sector billions each year, for now an alternative will be available that could prove productive and financial savings across the board that have yet to be seen prior.

Our business & market situation

Proof Of Concept Achieved Within The Pharmacy Sector 

My Locum Choice is a tech service business working within the Healthcare sector (starting specifically within Pharmacy) to solve the issues around sourcing temporary workforce's. 

The company has been trading since late 2014/early 2015, fully funded by myself the founder (Miraj) and my partner Mitesh. The business has gone from having zero pre market interest to a user base of 1,400+ registered sites and over 1,300 locums. The booking platform services between 10-15% of those pharmacy sites on a recurrent basis. Approximately 40% of the independent pharmacy sites have used My Locum Choice at least once. Having now recently signed up the third largest retail chain in the UK we have now been given access to over 750 new sites!

Products and Services

Self Serve Platform

The online self serve platform comprises the largest portion of the business and is the biggest competitive advantage My Locum Choice has. As of yet there are no other self-serve platform technologies like this one within the pharmacy sector. Although other competitors have tried to imitate our MVP, they have done so without the advanced level of technology our platform offers.

The technology allows pharmacy owners to focus on the more important aspects of their business. The system does all the hard work for them; automated to hand pick locums suited to their business through the matching functionality. Locum pharmacists benefit from having increased visibility to work rather than obtaining work through direct channels or being presented specified shifts via agencies. The tech allows them to choose where they want to work, for how much and for which days. They can view site information prior to the shift and access site details once the shift is complete to aid with invoicing purposes.

Within specificed other healthcare sectors there are also a lack of self-serve technologies as they still run on traditional agency models. This service not only offers more direct channels to find temporary workers, but also reduces the cost per acquisition to obtain those individual(s). Traditional methods of calling, texting, emailing the bank of locums are no longer needed, reducing administrative costs and increasing productivity.  

Coincinding with this My Locum Choice provides a range of auxillary services to support our members and users.

DBS

One key service which has contributed heavily towards our revenue streams is our DBS service. The DBS enhanced service is a criminal check which is required by all healthcare professionals who work with or provide services to vulnerable adults and young children. This check is performed via a third party partner on behalf of My Locum Choice to our registrants and non members. 

My Locum Choice performs an average of 30 DBS checks per month, largely obtained passively, but has recently grown due to more active marketing. 

Workshops and Training

Free training in the form of blog posts and e-books is contained within this but the revenue generation comes from our face to face workshops and paid training modules. These workshops upskill pharmacists to provide services such as flu vaccinations or work within General practice settings. The training modules accredite pharmacists to provide a range of 8 key services including travel health and hair loss treatment.

Workshops are held on average once every quarter and paid training modules are sold as and when requirement comes.

Locum Hub

Pharmacy owners save lots of time by using the platform, however, there are circumstances for example an emergency booking, where pharmacy owners do not even have the time to log onto the website. In situations like this we run a locum hub (similar to a traditional agency) whereby locum requirements are outsourced directly to our team to fill.

Pre-Qualification and Vetting

Locum pharmacists are vetted and pre-screened before deployment. They can only be eligible for work should they meet the minimum requirements expected from them; zero fitness to practice issues, right to work, DBS criminal check clear and references received.

This is a big advantage of My Locum Choice over other competitors as it creates a reduced risk across the supply chain for clients by ensuring compliant workers.

Feedback 

An edge to the whole booking process not seen with traditional agencies; obtaining feedback from pharmacy owners and locums after shifts have been carried out to offer constructive criticism and improve development on both sides.

Advertisement and Product Listing

Utilising our network of pharmacists, we have been able to obtain interest from pharmaceutical companies, training providers and product manufacturers to advertise their products and train pharmacists. Small pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers host their training and CPD (continued professional development) on My Locum Choice’s store site for a small advertisement fee.

Data Commercialisation

This territory will not be utilised for a while as it would require large user numbers. We hope to do this on a smaller scale by working with partners and suppliers who can market to our databases. On a larger scale the robust data obtained through our system over the years could deliver great insight into the healthcare market for the NHS.

Revenue Success

My Locum Choice are now in Year 3 of our trading journey.

In the first quarter alone of year 2 we generated the same amount of revenue as the whole of year 1, through the below:

  • Bookings through the platform averaged a 70% increase each month comparative for year 1 trading
  • DBS services averaged a 500% increase each month compared to year 1 trading
  • Workshop revenue growing each quarter as user numbers increase 
  • Passively 25-50 new locum pharmacists registering with the platform each month
  • 5-10 new pharmacy owners registering passively each month

Market

The go-to-market strategy lied in the pharmacy sector first; a field which our team knows and understands well. The aim was to prove concept with our current MVP and show a need for this systems application.  

Our in-depth experience of this sector was how we arrived at our addressable market size within pharmacy. The booking process being the same in optometry allowed us to duplicate that figure. Within Medicine, Dentistry and NHS hospitals we had to allow for traditionally bigger spends on locums with larger requirements for bookings coupled with higher fees.

Working in pharmacy we realised that locums are booked on average 25-30 days per annum per premises and have based our market assumptions (aproximately) around this. 

Other sources include NHS data, magazine/news publications within sectors of interest and NHS choices.

The markets in which My Locum Choice will be approaching are:

Pharmacy

Currently there are 14,000 pharmacies in the country (not including hospital settings). 50% of these encompass the large retail and supermarket chains. The other 50% are independent pharmacies consisting of the proprietors who own as little as 1 pharmacy to at most over 200. There are approximately 60,000 registered pharmacists in the country in which 50% of those pharmacists are locum's in some capacity or another. Every year 3,000 new pharmacists (named pre-registered pharmacies) qualify to practice.

The spend through agencies to source locum pharmacists and staff in primary care is estimated to be £5m per year.  The addressable market here is approximately £30m.

Optometry

This market includes approximately 4,000 optical practices in the UK, 15k practicing optometrists and 14k optometry professionals (dispensers, assistants and students). 840 optometrists qualify from the 7 optical university schools in the country each year.

The spend through agencies to source locum optometrists and staff in primary care is estimated to be £5m per year.  The addressable market here is approximately £30m.

Dentistry

This market includes approximately 8,000 dental practices in the UK, 40k practicing dentists and 60k dental professionals (assistants, technicians, therapists, nurses and hygenists). 1,200 dentists qualify from the 12 dental university schools in the country each year.

The spend through agencies to source locum dentists and staff in primary care is estimated to be £5m per year.  The addressable market here is approximately £30m.

Medical

This market includes approximately 12,000 general practices (surgeries, health centres) in the UK, 70k practicing doctors (150k total NHS doctors). There is 377k nursing staff, including midwives and health visitors (26% of this being nurse practitioners and healthcare assistants). 8,000 community and district nurses also form part of that.

The spend through agencies to source locum doctors and nurses in primary care is estimated to be £20m per year.  The addressable market here is approximately £3bn.

Secondary Care (NHS)

NHS hospitals are managed by acute trusts of which there are 168 in England. Hospitals include a wide array of workers within their settings:

Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHP)-Dieticians, Occupational Therapists, Orthoptists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Psychologists, Radiographers, Speech and Language Therapists

Health Science Staff (HSS)- Biomedical Scientists, Cytologists, Dental Service Staff (excluding dental nurses), Genetic Counsellors, Healthcare Scientists, Medical Technologists, Optometrists

On top off these are your Medical Staff (namely Doctors of all grades and nurses) and Pharmacy Staff (pharmacists and team).

There is a forecasted spend of over £4 billion by the end of 2016 for the sourcing of temporary workers in the NHS within the UK (wales forecasting £100m and Scotland over £120m).

  • Medical £1,401m
  • Nursing £1,209m
  • Admin & Other £801m [non clinical-non medical]
  • AHP/HSS £400m
  • HCA £255m
  • Dental £4m
  • Private healthcare £100 million
  • M.O.D spend (military bases in the UK and abroad) £46.5m

The spend through agencies to source these workers in secondary care is estimated to be £600m per year.

Growth Plan

My Locum Choice is determined to achieving high growth levels, both financially and via market exposure and awareness. Our platform and presence has taken big strides in providing services to pharmacy sites and pharmacists. However, with a new found and strengthened strategy plan; coinciding with the funds provided through external investors, it can very quickly carpet the UK pharmacy space.

Growth will be achieved through 6 main aspects of the business:

  • Staff Expansion: Increasing the recruitment team, compliance team and accounts team will allow My Locum Choice to run active unvoiced and voiced campaigns to accrue new pharmacy sites and new locum pharmacists. As well as this the teams can allocate their daily activities towards increasing the number of fully compliant and deployable workers there are to meet businesss requirements.
  • V2.0 Platform: The MVP has acted as a stepping stone to market, yet the simplicity of the system will mean it will soon reach maximum capacity. A new system and IOS/Android application will ensure a streamlined process for both parties where bookings can occur very quickly and efficiently without the need for manual intervention. The new platform will allow clients and themselves to manage 1,000's of bookings efficiently. It will offer robust reporting and a range of brilliant new features. 
  • User Growth: By increasing the number of users that are actively using the platform and apps on a daily basis will provide My Locum Choice with essential data that can then be utilised within the NHS healthcare sector.
  • Auxillary Services: Increased user growth and awareness will offer the ability to provide a more extensive range of services as well as build upon the current auxillary services available. DBS, Training modules and workshops will become more frequent aiding revenue generation.
  • New Verticals: My Locum Choice will look to enter the other healthcare sectors over time, having created an application and new build that is very simple and well received. The transition across healthcare sectors would be very simple as the recruitment and industry expertise would be in place as well as the fact that the locum booking process does not change between sectors. We will start expanding within pharmacy first through the supply of locums and locum staff, temp-permanent positions and the private sector. The natural progression will then be toward other private sectors starting with optometry, dentistry and General practice.
  • Marketing: My Locum Choice will look to strengthen online presence through social media management and exposure, active online recruitment of locums and clients. Offline, MLC will look to participate in more trade shows and events where we can reach large cohorts of their key demographics with ease, as well through magazine and article publications.

 

Competition

My Locum Choice currently competes with two other "self-serve like" competitors. One of which has recently recieved a succesful investment round to utilise their system within the retail pharmacy space.  Their platform works using a different technology; an alert system for locums when jobs have been posted. My Locum Choice's platform focuses on giving the pharmacy owners and locums more knowledge about the other party. MLC system gives pharmacy owners the ability to not only get any locum who is available but more so, select the ones they want suitably matched to their businesses. This is why it has been deemed as having "an exclusive feel" compared to other companies.

Another competitor working a free system utilising the same alert system model has also arisen. However pharmacy owners are restricted to utilising the platform only with little support. My Locum Choice provides a locum hub which supports pharmacy owners in obtaining locums when they are too busy to search themsleves, or have had no success until that point. By taking on multiple client requirements in house and via the system, the all rounded approach has proven to be of great value.

Finally, agencies position themselves as competitors in the field. My Locum Choice looks to provide an eclictic approach for our registrants by giving them the tools to become compliant and find work, upskill them on services and accreditations that could further strengthen this and finally providing them the channels to obtain work.  Pharmacy owners benefit from a more direct channel to source workers; those matched to their business requirements and available when they need them as well as a robust feedback system which is taken into account for future bookings.

Through 10 key differentiating factors in comparison to traditional recruitment companies, We set ourselves apart from the competition:

  • A company run and created by experienced pharmacists 
  • An online advanced transparent self-serve platform
  • The ability for temporary workers and employers to engage directly
  • A more affordable and more efficient way to find workers, resulting in savings of 60% or more than using agencies and other "self-serve like" companies (considerably less at £7 per booking comparitive to the average of £15-£30)
  • Utilised as first line option for sourcing locums from companies who have never even used agencies before
  • Compliance support, pre-qualification and vetting
  • Feedback systems and accountability
  • A new platform to be launched which will streamline the process so well it will attract new users and ensure retention
  • Additional training and upskilling
  • Partnerships with wholesalers, large professional bodies and training providers
  • Wide advertisement and media coverage within the sector
  • Established as the one-stop shop for independent pharmacy and locums by providing work/workers, up skilling and training, criminal record checks, workshops and support through partners. The aim is to establish themselves in the same way across the independent market in all healthcare sectors.

 

Our team

Our team

My Locum Choice comprises a management team with experienced backgrounds in pharmacy. Coincidentally their advisory team of industry experts are also very well positioned to drive the business forward with vast knowledge and experience in tech development, Financials and NHS strategy.

Main

Miraj Patel

Founder and CEO, full time

Miraj is an experienced member of this profession, having started his journey post degree with one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the UK. He worked as a pharmacist for them part time as well as a locum before progressing very quickly to manager and then onto cluster and sponsor lead in charge of 32 pharmacy stores in his region.

After achieving everything he possibly could have at that point in his journey he soon realised the ideals and concept of My Locum Choice. In late 2013 Miraj left his full time salaried job to pursue this passion and spent a year and a half developing the platform self-funded, which would be brought to market in late 2014. Since that day Miraj has worked full time in the business basing his tasks towards growth and strategy, finance, sales and customer service and all in all overlooking the business.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/miraj-patel-47537762/
Main

Mitesh Shah

Chief Operating Officer, full time

Mitesh has worked in the pharmacy sector in various roles such as pharmacist in retail (working alongside Miraj) to locum pharmacist and pharmacy manager.

Over many years Mitesh developed his talent for photography, videoing and editing which he is utilised for within My Locum Choice for marketing campaigns. Mitesh has become the in house media lead and also manages all of the companies social media platforms as well. Working full time he allocates majority of his days towards strategy, sales, customer service, marketing and general management.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mitesh-shah-734b34a9/
Main

Birju Pujara

Commercial and Financial Director, Part time

As a highly motivated and confident individual, Birju has flourished in developing a small start up into a multi-million pound company. His ability to adapt to new environments and pick up new skills has allowed him to transfer his strengths into a variety of busineses enabling him to mentor, advice and direct a number of companies and brands. 

Birju was one of three employees at Nicocigs from the inception of the company in Nov 2008 to annual t/o of £21m and subsquently acqusition by Phillip Morris International in August 2015.

Birju then sought to set up Avai Ltd  to provide retail and business consultancy services to SME’s. With specialisms in distribution, commercial & sales strategy, project management and brand building.

Now Birju also heads his own start up Skwibble Ltd a social baby blogging network for parents.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/birju-pujara-a67aa814/
Main

Bhavin Kothari

Technology and Development Advisor, Part time

Bhavin graduated with a degree in Computer Science and within a few years started working for KOBAS. He spent 3 years learning and developing their core offering along with many other projects. With the support of a skilled experienced team, he refined his knowledge of UX and core development. Once the tenure ended, he took the opportunity to start his own start-up agency Twinio Tech Ltd providing a range of web based services.

 

There are no boundaries to aquiring new knowledge as he continues to evolve his learning and applying new methods and strategies to ensure that those who work with him truly benefit from his experience and abilities.

During the last 7 years of developement, he acquired an in-depth understanding of several key front-end and back-end languages for web based applications including PHP, MySQL, JavaScript and AngularJS.

Bhavin's knowledge in a wide range of technologies allows him to provide comprehensive cost-effective solutions for businesses and start-ups.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bhavin-kothari-17880845/
Main

Ketan Makwana

NHS Strategy Advisor, part time

Ketan Makwana is a renowned international speaker and serial entrepreneur who has started, scaled and sold multiple businesses.

In a response to the emerging skills gap between education to employment and enterprise Ketan launched Enterprise Lab which is now operating in 11 countries training 100,000 people a year.

Ketan has experience in the IT, Electronics and Health sectors, having been responsible for European Distribution of Apple Products and Software in late 90’s into early 2000. He co-designed, developed and implemented the very first Electronic self-check in system & patient call systems into the NHS which are used in nearly 95% of all GP practices across the UK

Ketan also has expertise in launching products into the UK and European market.

In 2012 Ketan founded and delivered Youth Enterprise Live backed by the Prime Minister and the UK’s largest event focussed on Education, Employment and Enterprise for 15-30 year olds… leading on from this took a position as Special Advisor to the Prime Minster.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ketanmakwana/