With help from Innovate UK EDGE, an innovative Knaresborough-based company refocused its business to combat COVID and won an NHS contract.
Despite recent trials and tribulations impacting the economy, agile and innovative companies have still found ways to grow. One example is Homecare Pharmacy Services Ltd, which drew on the support of Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialists to carry out a major strategic refocus, leading to increased revenues and more jobs.
Homecare Pharmacy offers care homes across the North of England an innovative, digital system for managing the medication needs of their residents. Care homes need to manage large quantities of pharmaceuticals, and human error in doing so can have serious consequences.
By replacing paper-based systems with electronic ones, Homecare Pharmacy helps care homes keep a closer eye on the medications that their residents need, ordering prescriptions and managing stock levels. It also reduces workloads for care staff and centralises information in a way that makes it easy to access for care staff, doctors and pharmacists. This all helps to ensure that the right medication is administered to the right care home resident, at the right time, and in the right way.
The business had good turnover pre-COVID and initial discussions with specialists Glyn Selway and Simon Monaghan focused on ways for Homecare Pharmacy to increase the number of care homes that it supplied, and increasing its profit margins.
Strategic review leads to NHS contract bid
Then COVID happened, and everything changed. Homecare Pharmacy’s focus shifted: Glyn and Simon helped the company to carry out a high-level strategic review of its activities, which showed that increasing Homecare Pharmacy’s work around vaccination was the best way to generate additional revenue in the short term. This led to a successful bid to NHS England, to set up and run a COVID vaccination centre in Knaresborough, as well as providing ongoing flu jabs.
As Homecare Pharmacy’s Director Jason Baskind describes it: “Glyn and Simon were our trusted advisors: they were so supportive and gave us such helpful, sound advice. I can’t speak highly enough of them. They helped especially when we were putting together our submission to NHS England, acting as the ideal sounding board, and helping us identify gaps that we needed to address.”
Homecare Pharmacy began COVID vaccinations in February 2021, and by the end of July it will have provided over 50,000 of them. Handling such large numbers isn’t a problem: “for us now, carrying out 1,200 vaccinations in a shift is a breeze.”
Revenue from the NHS England contract will be between £2.2m and £2.5m, and it has led to 25 new jobs being created, covering medical staff, cleaners, marshals, security staff and admin support.
But as Jason Baskind puts it, the benefits of Homecare Pharmacy’s shift of focus go beyond the financial: “It’s wonderful seeing people’s faces as they walk out of our centre, having got their vaccinations. We and the residents of Yorkshire are very grateful for the support we’ve had from our Innovate UK EDGE specialists.”