Lantum: Looking forward to 2018
We have recently had a number of questions from the GP community about Lantum and how we work. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some top facts about Lantum - how Lantum works, what we are here to do and give some insights into what we will be working on in 2018.
Lantum’s mission is to radically improve how healthcare works for everyone. We aim to do this by providing software tools to physicians and employers to help them interact and transact efficiently.
Top 10 facts about Lantum
- Lantum is a suite of software tools that practices and GPs can use to organise their sessional work
- Lantum was founded by Melissa Morris, who is ex NHS London and an ex management consultant at Mckinsey who has spent ten years helping the NHS solve complex problems
- Dr Ishani Patel is Lantum’s GP Cofounder who is a GP partner in Brent and has previously worked as a locum GP
- Lantum is a small business based in East London
- Lantum plays no part in the rates that are agreed between practices and doctors we simply allow people to negotiate to find a rate that is agreeable to both sides
- Lantum works with practice groups to build online staff banks, allowing them to offer sessions to local doctors who are known to the practices, these groups are offered a discount on Lantum booking fees
- We have investors, some are doctors and some are venture capitalists who have supported the business to build the software and employ a support team to help doctors and practices who use the platform
- Lantum is an approved provider on two of the national NHS frameworks which is required for businesses who work with the NHS on larger contracts
- We make money by charging the practices a booking fee, we will offer a subscription option next year at popular request from practices
- Lantum offers a number of online tools including Lantum, RLocums (in the East Midlands), Locum Organiser and works in partnership with a growing number of organisations in the industry
What is Lantum?
Lantum is a suite of software tools that can be used by groups of practices to manage their GP banks, individual practices to find GPs and GPs to find and book work directly without using an agency.
We are a small, London-based team of technology developers, ex NHS managers and GPs who have come together to try to make things work better for the NHS and its workforce.
How did Lantum start and who is involved?
I (Melissa) used to work for NHS London and before that I worked at Mckinsey in the Healthcare practice. I have been working for more than a decade within the NHS helping solve complex problems. It was here that I saw first-hand where too much money was being spent on overheads - for example the cost of recruitment agencies. I left my job because I felt that, by trying to create a better alternative, I could have a far greater impact on reducing the costs that the NHS is burdened with.
I met Dr Ishani Patel soon after coming up with the idea, she and I shared many of the same thoughts and ideas and she soon joined as GP co-founder.
From Ishani: I was a newly qualified GP when I met Melissa and had a number of frustrations of how and where to find work that offered flexibility and choice. After a few years as a locum I became a GP partner in NW London and experienced a new range of challenges. I joined Melissa as co-founder of Lantum as I was looking to resolve all these challenges and shared her mission to improve the system.
What other products does Lantum offer or have associations with?
In 2016 we merged with RLocums, a business offering a similar service to Lantum in the East Midlands. The founders of RLocums, Bob and Steve, thought it made sense for there to be one platform where GPs could have a wide choice of sessions rather than GPs and practices having to log into two. Bob and Steve are now Lantum shareholders. We learned a lot from this acquisition and we think that the RLocums product is fantastic. There are still parts of RLocums that we would like to incorporate into Lantum before we merge into one platform in 2018.
We are always looking for ways within which we can add more value to GPs. We recently merged with Locum Organiser, a toolkit for GPs. This has allowed us to offer invoicing tools to locums who find work directly and will allow us to connect GPs with more practices if they are looking for work. Chris Mew and his wife Sian, a GP, are the founders of Locum Organiser. Over the years many GPs had asked him if Locum Organiser could also offer jobs. Chris looked at building this himself but having used Lantum’s technology, he thought it would be better for us to work together. We are proud to say that Locum Organiser is now part of the Lantum offer. Chris has even joined the Lantum technology team full time and he is working on building even more tools for GPs with us.
Locum Organiser is again a great and very popular product. There will be no obligation for doctors using Locum Organiser to book jobs as we know many of you are not looking for extra work. Positive changes we hope to make include showing local jobs on Locum Organiser (for GPs that are looking for extra work) helping make invoices, payments and pension forms even more streamlined for it's users.
We also have partnerships with a number of organisations such as Medic Accountants, Fourteen Fish, myGPevents and the Family Doctor Association so that all aspects of a GP’s career can be supported.
How involved is Lantum in organising shifts?
Lantum helps practices and locums retain their independence in negotiating details of the session, providing the tools that both sides need to come to an agreement on terms. There is no agency involved, everything is agreed direct between locum and practice.
While both sides retain their independence, the Lantum team are on hand to support you. Sometimes you disagree and we’ve helped resolve many disputes between parties. We also chase up your invoices so that practices and doctors can spend time on the more important work of seeing patients. Dr Belinda Coker is the member of our team overseeing clinical governance. Belinda oversees the GP vetting processes and she can also support with any clinical queries which the doctor or the practice may have during or after the session.
How is Lantum funded?
The product that Lantum is building is complex, it involves building payment systems, pension form tools, rostering software, and apps to book shifts, among other features. We knew that if we were going to build something that was going to really improve the way the healthcare profession works, without charging high agency fees, we would need to raise investment to build the product.
Lantum is backed by a number of supportive investors such as venture capitalists and family offices who share the long term vision and the values of the business. One of which is BGF, a government backed fund supporting British businesses.
Lantum has also received investment from individual doctors who resonated with the mission so much that they asked to invest their own money.
In November 2017, Lantum was selected by Sir Bruce Keogh to join NHS England’s innovation accelerator, where Lantum received a bursary from NHS England to further develop its product capabilities to support the New Models of Care.
Is Lantum Profitable?
Lantum has not yet made profits from its work, all of the revenue so far has been invested in improving the product.
How much do doctors get paid when booking through Lantum?
Lantum is a platform which allows practices and locums to reach a fair agreement between themselves on rate of pay and terms.
Practices set an initial guide rate that they are willing to pay for a shift. Locums can either accept this rate or make a counter offer using the rate negotiation feature. This is used 40% of the time.
Groups of practices (such as Our Health Partnership, Tower Hamlets Care Group) who use Lantum receive a discount on Lantum fees. These practices suggest an individual rate that can also be negotiated by the locums on a practice by practice basis. Practices can’t see the rates of pay that other practices have set.
Is the work NHS pensionable?
Locums can claim pension through the site if the job offers NHS pension.
Each session has clear information about the pension for the GP to see. Some practices include on the rate, this can be something a GP can negotiate. We have automatic tools which help with pension form population as rubber stamped by NHS Pensions Authority.
How are practices informed about rate negotiations and applications?
They get SMS texts and emails as well as a call from the Lantum team to let them know about applications.
Does Lantum ever fine doctors or practices?
We have never fined a practice nor a doctor. Lantum does not fine its users.
What does Lantum want to work on next year?
As with any growing business, there aren’t enough hours in the day and there are endless things we want to work on; we are a small company and we know there are areas where we need to improve. This is why it’s so important to hear your feedback.
One area we will be working on is payments. Practices who use the platform often don’t pay GPs as quickly as GPs would like. We’d like to radically improve this, so we’re working hard on a good solution that works for everyone.
We are also planning to change our platform fee structure. Many practices have requested a subscription model rather than a pay as you go model. We have started working in this way with some of our practices already and will be able to offer this to any practices who prefer this throughout next year.
Does Lantum have connections with the BMA?
The BMA have interviewed Lantum to understand how the platform works. Lantum does not have direct contact with the BMA but if asked, we would always be willing to engage with the BMA. One of Lantum’s investors, after becoming an investor was elected onto the Sessional subcommittee of the BMA's General Practitioner's Committee, although he does not represent Lantum in his post and has never promoted Lantum in his role with the BMA.
How much influence does Lantum have at NHS England / policy level?
Lantum is a suite of software tools, we don’t consider ourselves a voice for the sector but we do get many requests from policy makers for us to put them in touch with the workforce. To this end we would like to use Lantum as a way for GPs, providers and policy makers to have more of a dialogue. From next year, we will be organising quarterly roundtables where we will invite those who would like to speak up about the sector as well as national decision makers.