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The STEP INto Healthcare programme has led to a new contract with Bolton NHS Trust and pilot projects with several other NHS Trusts for Manchester tech-company Malinko.


The Overview

Tech-company Malinko uses cutting edge software to help organisations solve staff scheduling problems. The business creates bespoke, easy-to-use systems which are helping organisations across a variety of sectors to use staff time more efficiently. Based at the Manchester Science Park, the company employs 15 people.


The Challenge

Company co-founder Andrew Threlfall wanted to find ways of demonstrating the company’s automated intelligent scheduling system to senior NHS bosses.

“Typically, NHS community teams use paper diaries and clinical systems to schedule caseloads and book patient appointments,” he explains. “But these systems lack the in-built intelligence needed to optimise the process, which can then end up becoming needlessly complex and time-consuming. This leads to thousands of hours of senior nursing time being wasted each year.

“We knew our software could make a huge difference to this, but we needed more advice about the best ways to break into healthcare procurement.”

Using the old ways, nurses were taking up to four hours to book in around 100 appointments. We’ve now cut that back to just 20 minutes

Andrew Threlfall

The Solution

The company began working with GC Business Growth Hub and signed up to STEP INto Healthcare, a specialist programme run in partnership with the NHS innovation service TRUSTECH and Health Innovation Manchester.

This fully-funded support is aimed at innovative SMEs with a product, service or technology that has the potential to benefit the NHS and wider health community. The support is designed to develop route to market strategies, as well as how to commercialise ideas.

The first three sessions of STEP INto Healthcare are designed to fill knowledge gaps, and include a general overview of healthcare in the UK plus a masterclass on how best to pitch to the NHS. The fourth session offers a unique opportunity to pitch ideas directly to some of the leading NHS procurement managers and clinical experts in the North West.

For Malinko, this led to the start of a pilot project with the Salford Royal Foundation Trust, where Andrew’s team was able to assess staff needs and build a bespoke scheduling system that would help district nurses optimise their time.

“Using the old ways, nurses were taking up to four hours to book in around 100 appointments. We’ve now cut that back to just 20 minutes,” says Andrew.

Importantly, the new system also includes features which allow staff to take into account patients’ practical needs, and ensure they are visited by a nurse with the necessary skills and seniority. It also includes a safeguarding element, allowing NHS managers to track staff and their whereabouts at all times.

Malinko has since won a new contract to work with Bolton NHS Trust and is running pilot projects with several other Trusts across the North West. The company has also joined the Digital Health Accelerator programme, which offers further support to regional businesses looking to introduce innovative new ideas into the NHS.

The work with the Hub has helped to safeguard 10 jobs, while five new positions have been created.

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