The digital GP service, Push Doctor, is reported to be seeking a buyer urgently, as it is in financial difficulty and struggling to find funding from investors.
Recent accounts for the company, which has its headquarters in Manchester and employs around 200 people, lost some £7.6 million to July 2021, while in the previous year, it lost £6.8 million.
Push Doctor offers consultations for NHS and private patients. Its GPs work for the service in their spare time and private patients pay £25 for a 10-minute video consultation.
The NHS side of the business proved more successful and Push Doctor covers some 5.7 million of these patients across the UK – it has partnered with more than 250 NHS GP practices. It was reported that Push Doctor’s NHS work had resulted in £1.1 million in cash on its balance sheet at the end of July.
Efforts were made to transform the private GP service and this closed on 31 January 2020 and reopened in December of the same year.
It is said the business is now at serious risk of insolvency and options being explored include finding a buyer in the coming weeks to ensure a solvent sale, or a pre-pack administration, if this is not possible. Buyers in the frame are said to be Square Health, Boots, and Babylon.
Push Doctor was founded in 2013 by Eren Ozagir, who left the business in 2018. Since its establishment, the company has raised tens of millions from shareholders and has continued to obtain more funding in recent months. In addition, the business took a £5 million loan as offered by the government-backed pandemic support scheme, which was matched by a further £5 million from existing shareholders.
In June 2021, it was reported that Push Doctor had made a number of changes in its leadership team, following the appointment of Matt Elcock as managing director. The company was said to be planning its next phase of growth, in providing a digital workforce for primary care networks and clinical commissioning groups.
Simon Renshaw, director with Company Debt, comments: “A number of digital healthcare providers offering primary care services have set up in recent years – but it has to be questioned if there is room for all these disruptors and how they differentiate themselves. My understanding is that there is also a shortage of GPs, so who knows if there are enough to go around.
“In the case of Push Doctor, it seems their focus – perhaps through necessity over a choice – was to partner with NHS practices. However, the income earned from this may not have been enough to service all its debt. Whether we like it or not, the overstretched NHS is having a difficult time in terms of offering consultations, and digital health is also becoming increasingly accepted because of pandemic experience. As such, there are numerous private sector providers looking to offer their services, so this may put Push Doctor in a relatively strong position to find a buyer.”