Digital GP provider Push Doctor is seeking an ‘accelerated’ sale or cash injection to prevent it from becoming insolvent within the next year.
According to its most recent financial accounts, the company made a loss of more than £7.6m in the financial year ending 31 July 2021, following a loss of £6.8m in 2019.
The company, which covers 5.7 million NHS patients across the UK and is partnered with more than 250 NHS GP practices, was left with £1.1m cash in its balance sheet at the end of July, it said.
It temporarily closed its private GP service on 31 January 2020 to ‘focus on the NHS market’ but reintroduced this in December of the same year.
What do Push Doctor’s financial accounts say?
- As of October when the accounts were filed, Push Doctor’s ‘cash runway – without any further injection of funding – is considerably less than 12 months’
- The company has appointed an adviser to ‘run an accelerated [mergers and acquisition] sale process’ and will also consider ‘various other options’
- It has ‘begun discussions with selected third parties to test investor appetite and is pursuing options for strategic investment, acquisition and venture investment’
- Push Doctor has received ‘indicative interest from a variety of parties’, including ‘large pharmaceutical distribution groups’, other ‘well-funded digital health businesses’ and health care companies ‘with a focus on primary care’
- The company’s board has ‘a degree of confidence’ that a sale or investment will be successful, however, it said there is a ‘risk’ the plan could fail or take longer than needed ‘to meet cash requirements’
- If unsuccessful, there would be ‘no realistic prospect’ of the business continuing to meet its liabilities and therefore a ‘material uncertainty’ exists that ‘may cast significant doubt over the company’s ability to trade as a going concern’
In September 2020, the company received £5m in funding from a Government scheme designed to support businesses facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, matched by £5m from existing shareholders, the documents revealed.
They described Push Doctor, as a ‘high-potential yet heavily loss-making start-up’.
However, they also said that in the six months up to July 2021, the company saw a 135% increase in turnover with a nine times increase in gross profit recorded in July compared with January 2021.
A Push Doctor spokesperson said: ‘Push Doctor has had a strong year of growth in 2021.
‘As is common for a business at our exciting stage of development, Push Doctor is in discussions to raise capital to fund the next phase of our growth and we are exploring a number of options. We are not in a position to share further details at this stage.’
They stressed that it is an ongoing process and that all options are on the table.
It comes as private healthcare provider Babylon, which runs the largest NHS GP practice in England through its digital-first provider GP at Hand, has begun trading on the New York stock exchange following a successful merger.
Last month, it announced it had completed the merger that would automatically lead to its US stock exchange listing.
Babylon had said it required ‘significant cash’ and warned that it would need to ‘seek additional funding’ to ‘continue [its] operations’ if the merger failed.
In 2019, Push Doctor announced that it would expand to more practices following a successful pilot, putting it ‘on course’ to be live with 200 practices by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, GPs are caught in an ongoing row over NHS England and the Government’s £250m GP ‘support’ package that sets out a range of measures to improve access to face-to-face GP appointments.