A North West-based agency specialising in showing the benefits of tech to the healthcare sector has doubled its workforce in a month on the back of growing demand caused by Covid-19.

Redmoor Health, in Preston, accelerated its growth plans as more and more Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and GP practices across England asked for help in using technology so they could assess patients online rather than by face-to-face appointments.

In a letter to the UK’s 7,000 GP surgeries in March, NHS England urged practices to make more use of video and telephone consultations to reduce the risk of coronavirus being spread.

Redmoor Health has been running up to four training webinars a day to healthcare staff across England and has doubled its own workforce inside a month from five staff to 10 to meet demand.

The company recently won a contract to train clinicians and GP practice staff on using new technology including Microsoft Teams, in particular showing them how they can develop group video group consultations.

They have also been tasked with delivering a national training webinar for NHSX on using video to support care homes as well as supporting practices in Greater Manchester to use video software.

Marc Schmid, who founded Redmoor Health in March 2017, had already been planning a recruitment drive after landing a series of UK-wide contracts but brought the plans forward because of the pandemic.

He said Redmoor Health’s motivation was in keeping healthcare staff safer.

“We work with these doctors and nurses on a daily basis and we can see the genuine fear that a lot of clinicians have around Covid-19,” he said.

“We can see the clear benefits of having remote meetings with people in a safe environment. A lot of GPs and nurses are in the vulnerable category. They might be in their mid 60s and they might have health conditions. What we want to do is try and make their working environment as safe as possible.

“That’s why we also do a lot of pro bono work and give out free kit etc. We’ve managed to negotiate a free licence for a practice in the Midlands to get them up and running to use a particular piece of software.”

He said Covid-19 had changed the way technology was regarded in healthcare.

“Even before the coronavirus there was a recognition that the healthcare sector needed to make better use of technology to tackle things like the problem of GP retention. The technology has been there for a while to enable GPs to work remotely but what Covid-19 has done is speed up the tech adoption.

“Covid-19 has changed the way we deliver primary care forever. Before, the model was a face-to-face appointment first and then diverting patients into another follow-up care. Now we’re doing remotely first and when GPs do need to see people face-to-face, it’s being done in a safe way including an online triage system.

“I can’t see a reason why a practice would revert back to the old way of doing things after the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control. If they have the skills and technology to triage people remotely in the initial stage then why wouldn’t they continue using them?

“We’re increasingly getting asked from different parts of the country to do training on different clinical systems. That’s why we’ve gone from five staff to 10 inside a month and we’re talking to a number of other trainers so that number will probably rise.”

Schmid said a big growth for the business was likely to be their work in care homes.

The company recently teamed up with eight Century Healthcare care homes to offer the latest technology to elderly residents, including VR headsets, Fitbits, iPads and Amazon Alexa.

Schmid said: “We’re seeing the same issues around reducing the spread of Covid-19 in care homes as we are in GP surgeries. That’s why we looking at how technology can make it safer for care home staff and residents.”