Dr Anas Nader is the CEO and co-founder of Patchwork Health, a digital platform that enables NHS teams to recruit, manage and deploy both temporary and permanent healthcare workers.
Patchwork Health, founded by Nader and Dr. Jing Ouyang in 2016, aims to tackle the workforce crisis which affect the NHS.
The London-headquartered startup has raised £27.7 million in funding, of which £20 million went to Series B round the last month.
The Patchwork Health platform is now used in over 70 NHS sites by thousands of clinicians.
This week Founder at Five Q&Athe Patchwork Health chief reveals the best and worst parts of his job, how good investors “offer so much more than capital” and why flexibility is key to reducing burnout.
1. What are the best and worst parts of your job?
Anas Nader: Without a doubt, the best part of my job is working closely with thousands of my fellow clinicians and our dedicated team at Patchwork drive real innovation and transformation in everything healthcare sector. Although there are clear tasks ahead healthcare organizations – from growing staff shortages to record care backlogs – it is inspiring to see so many committed to change and create a more sustainable future.
The worst part of my job? Balancing your desire to make a difference and help as many as possible healthserve staff as quickly as possible while assessing the challenges of innovation in such a complex, vital industry. Real, meaningful and lasting change takes time.
2. What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?
AN: Find an investor who will support you for the long term and is committed to your mission. U Patchwork, we are very grateful for the support of Praetura Ventures on three separate occasions, and most recently we were also supported by Perwyn. Both provide ongoing support and understanding of the changes needed in the NHS and this has played a huge part in our continued growth.
Ask yourself which investors you can see being a part of your business long-term and what value or expertise they will bring as you grow. Build a strong, long-term partnership with each of your investors – they have much more to offer than capital.
3. How to prevent burnout?
AN: Flexibility is the key to reducing burnout. Working in the NHS, my co-founder Dr Jing Yuan and I have seen first-hand how tight queues, inflexible holiday policies and increasing staff shortages are contributing to increasing levels of burnout among our fellow clinicians. One in five are currently considering leaving their role altogether.
Wellbeing is closely linked to workforce planning, and the more flexible we are in doing this, the lower the risk of staff burnout.
4. What fact about you might surprise people?
AN: I am originally from Canada. My dream to become a doctor started at a young age and I started studying at the University of Toronto. But before pursuing a career in medicine, I worked briefly as an artist and medical illustrator, where I worked with medical journals and healthmedical facilities to create medical illustrations such as anatomical images or microscopic diagrams. It was only later that I decided to cross the pond to the UK and went to Imperial College to do my PhD.
After moving I was lucky enough to meet my wonderful wife and we now have a 16 month old daughter who is our pride and joy.
5. What is the most misunderstood technology?
AN: Technology that healththe care teams have at their disposal to manage their workforce is often misunderstood. Many healthCare organizations such as the NHS still have to rely on Excel spreadsheets to organize shifts for their permanent staff.
It may be functional, but it cannot provide them with the flexibility and dynamism needed to manage today’s workforce.
Founder at five – UKTN’s Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative startups, scale companies, unicorns and public tech companies – is published every Friday.
Patchwork Health founder: Good investors ‘offer so much more than capital’ – Fi5