Belfast Start-up Tackles £4bn NHS Agency Bill


Alan Watts from Halo (left) pictured with Michael Budden and Jonathan Clarke the creators of new software 'Locate a Locum'

Locate a Locum, a company in Belfast, is aiming to cut the NHS agency bill with a new piece of software. Most people think of doctors when they hear the word locum, but a huge problem exists for pharmacies needing quick access to pharmacists.

Locate a Locum is the brainchild of pharmacist and CEO Jonathon Clarke and developer Michael Budden and have secured funding of over £500k to develop the opportunity.

The funding package has been led by TechStart NI, who provides support for early stage technology businesses, and also involves a number of private investors, including those from the Halo, the NI business angel network.

Locate a Locum have had a whirlwind 12 months, firstly being accepted onto the Entrepreneurial Spark programme, picking up the Invent ‘Creative Media and Consumer Internet’ category award and graduating from Connect Springboard, NI’s personalised accelerator programme.

Since the platform went live, Locate a Locum has signed up thousands of pharmacists across the UK, and it services over 8,000 pharmacies, including big chains such as Boots, Well and Rowlands.

Locate a Locum’s CEO, Jonathon Clarke, explains:

“The platform is aimed initially at the pharmacy market as a pharmacy must have a registered pharmacist on the premises at all times. However, the capability to save the NHS, retail and community pharmacists’ time, and more importantly money, is staggering. The NHS currently spends £4bn per year on agency fees. Locate a Locum can save the NHS an average of £105 per day for each temporary member of staff by using our efficient software solution.”

Alan Watts, Director of Halo, commented:

“Jonathan and Michael are two promising entrepreneurs who have found a real gap in the market. The top 4 pharmacy chains alone have almost 50,000 locum days available per month so a lot of man power is required to ensure adequate cover is in place. The platform developed by Locate a Locum will ensure that this issue is a thing of the past.”

About Locate a Locum

Locate a Locum, founded by Jonathon Clarke and Michael Budden from Belfast, helps pharmacies source locums online who are available and eligible to work. As there’s legislation dictating that pharmacies need a registered pharmacist on the premises at all times, connecting to this locum market is a vital service, with Locate a Locum offering a lower-cost option for employers. For more information, please visit

About Halo

Halo is run on behalf of Invest NI and InterTradeIreland by Catalyst Inc. Halo is a modern Angel PLUS network that sparks successful connections between investors and entrepreneurs. Since 2009, over £12m of private money has been invested in companies with the figure rising to £25m if leveraged investment is included.