Spotlight On One Year On: Locum's Nest
Locum’s Nest was one of the companies we featured in our first OBBC Spotlight On series. The first series focused on entrepreneurs, innovators and pioneers and Locum’s Nest unique approach to healthcare technology made it a stand-out company to feature. In this article Co-Founder of Locum’s Nest, Dr Ahmed Al Shahrabani, talks about how the company has adapted to the major changes posed by Covid-19 and also what they plan to do looking forward.
How has the pandemic affected you?
I’ve always believed that it’s a life privilege to be a doctor. As the pandemic struck, I redeployed myself onto the Covid-19 respiratory wards at my local hospital – spending weekdays, nights, and weekends on the wards with fellow colleagues. The level of comradery during the first and second waves of the pandemic amongst colleagues was nothing like I’d seen before – it really felt like as though we were in the midst of a battle against an invisible enemy, yet there was absolute confidence that the healthcare system would eventually prevail – something we are now seeing more and more of, not just in the UK, but across the world.
Outside of work as a clinician it’s been a bit of a whirlwind year, the company was selected in the top 50 of the Financial Times’ list of the top 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe and I was fortunate enough to have been selected as one of the Forbes 30 under 30: Science & Healthcare honorees across Europe. Both accolades I’m sure came down to the relentless work of colleagues and me simply being in the right place at the right time!
Above all though, friends, family and colleagues have all stayed safe throughout the pandemic thus far and it’s great to see spirits so high after what’s been an undoubtedly tough time for all.
How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
The entire company focus shifted at the start of the pandemic towards how we could deliver as much value as possible to our NHS partner hospitals, helping them deal with the challenges COVID-19 brought on in the immediate term as well as supporting them in preparing to deal with the longer-term challenges as we came out of each peak.
We co-developed a Workforce Intelligence Navigator which triangulated data from Public Health England, the GMC and NHS Trust data to help predict surges in demand with outbreaks of the virus within certain geographies, allowing Trusts to plan proactively rather than acting reactively – resulting in the best possible levels of care.
We’ve also developed and launched the platform across all other worker groups in addition to medics to support entire organisations and have launched Locum’s Nest Link, our tech integration product that allows for digital connections to be made with any existing other pieces of software being used to make life as easy as possible for all Locum’s Nest users, from healthcare professionals to HR teams.
What can we hope to see from Locum’s Nest in the future?
There is no magic bullet to get innovation in the NHS; it is very much a people’s game.
We learnt that every trust is very different in its own right, but there are a lot of similarities that exist – the magic is to highlight what those similarities are. I have been to so many talks in the NHS and have shamelessly used the same quote over and over again that the NHS ‘has more pilots up and running than the RAF and the British Armed Forces combined’.
You really have to push for the similarities between trusts and show people why they are facing the same struggles; there might be something a trust down the road has already done that could help their neighbours as well.
I would love to see an NHS where all doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physios all work together, across NHS Trust and organisation boundaries to make sure the right healthcare worker can be at the right place, at the right time, in a way that’s as smooth and safe as possible.
What are your thoughts on Oman looking forward?
I feel it has the potential to be a world leader in healthcare provision. The resources are there, and there are many highly motivated junior doctors and nurses. I would love to work with the Ministry of Health and discuss healthcare policy at a high level, what could be improved and where our strengths currently lie. It’s very important to me that we also look at healthcare delivery outside of Muscat, I was recently in discussions with the medical team on the island of Masirah (a beautiful place) and would love to complete a secondment on the island, working with the local population and resident doctors and nurses to improve patient outcomes on the beautiful island. I have no doubt that as the pandemic subsides, we will re-initiate our work with the Ministry of Health and commence our partnership.