Medica Group is a provider of remote diagnostics services in the UK and Ireland. The company works with around 100 NHS hospital trusts to provide a number of diagnostics services. Medica specialise in teleradiology, the secure electronic transmission of radiological patient images, including plain film (X-Rays), computerised tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, from one location to another, for the purposes of diagnostic interpretation and reporting.
In the USA, through the company RadMD, it provides support for the imaging element of clinical trials including programme management, quality assurance, trial design and reading services. In Australia and New Zealand, through, Medx, it provides clients with access to radiologists across a range of time zones.
Last updated: August 2023
Medica was founded in the UK in 2004. Early investment in the business came from Nuffield Health, which from 2007 to 2013 owned 50% of the company. Then in 2017 the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Medica Group plc.
The company has expanded in the UK, adding contracts with NHS hospital trusts. The company has benefited from a shortage of staff in the NHS and Covid-19, which has led to a backlog of diagnostic tests for analysis by experts. Medica provides expertise remotely to reduce the backlog. The company also provides a service for emergency departments, NightHawk, with experts available 24/7 to analyse scan and x-ray results.
Medica notes in its 2022 annual report that the company has had a strong recovery in UK with elective volumes from September. The company also saw continued growth in acute services in the UK through the year.
The company has recently expanded outside of the UK. In November 2020 Medica Group purchased Global Diagnostics Ireland and Global Vision. Then in February 2021 the company launched the 50/50 joint venture MedX with Integral Diagnostics in Australia, which also works in New Zealand. In March 2021 Medica Group acquired American clinical trials company RadMD.
Full year 2022 accounts for the company report revenue of £77m, up from £61.9m in 2021, with gross profit up to £37.2m up from £31.4m in 2021. Underlying operating profit increased to £13.6m in 2021 from £12.1 million in 2021.
In the UK alone in 2022 the company reported revenue of £54m, up from £47.1m in 2021, and an underlying operating profit of £10.8m.
Medica is listed on at least two framework contracts for telereporting services with NHS England. The first from December 2019 to December 2023 for Outsourcing Radiology Services and in late 2021, Medica was awarded a place on the framework contract with NHS England for the development of Community Diagnostic Hubs. Medica will be involved with the development of around 150 community-based hubs that will offer a range of out-patient diagnostics, including routine Plain Film (PF;X-Ray), Computerised Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning.
Recent contracts, which are call-off contracts from the framework contracts, for teleradiology reporting include:
- two with James Paget University Hospital both from April 2022 to March 2023;
- with NHS Hull University Teaching Trust that covers June 2021 to May 2023
Medica offers the following services to NHS hospital trusts.
Medica Elective, which supports elective procedures. The company has worked with more than 100 UK NHS trusts. The service offers the full equivalence to in-house reporting, using experienced radiologists, for Plain Film, CT and MRI.
Medica Nighthawk, which provides 24/7 reporting in acute care. The service provides a team of over 25 radiologists at peak times, and reports results in under 30 minutes, with dedicated pathways for Stroke and Major Trauma.
Medica Sameday, which provides prioritised reporting for urgent scans
Medica specialist services, which includes Cardiac (reporting of CT coronary artery calcium scoring, angiography and TAVI, for the assessment of structural heart disease and congenital heart disease), CT Colonography, PET CT and Nuclear Medicine (reporting of PET CT, lung ventilation and perfusion, renal, bone, thyroid, octreotide and brain perfusion scans.)
CT Cone Beam, which undertakes reporting for maxiliofacial and dental referrals from both NHS hospitals and smaller dental practices.
DEXA reporting with full lifestyle recommendations delivered by consultant rheumatologists using Celma software.
MR Prostate - Dual and multiparametric analysis reporting of Prostate MRI to the latest PIRADS standards using Terarecon software.
There is a UK wide shortage of radiologists which contributes to treatment delays for patients in cancer care and other medical care.
Data submitted by the Royal College of Radiologists to the Health and Social Care parliamentary committee in 2022, showed that the RCR estimate there is a shortage of 1,939 whole-time equivalent consultant radiologists for the UK – this equates to a 33% shortage. For consultant oncologists, this figure stands at 189 WTE consultants (a 17% shortfall). If current trends in demand and workforce entries and exits continued to 2030, there would be shortages of close to 6,000 consultant radiologists and 700 consultant oncologists.
With the government's plans to set up over 100 community diagnostic hubs, an extra 3,500 radiographers will be needed to carry out diagnostics tests and 2,000 radiologists to interpret the results, as well as 500 advanced practitioners. The drive to recruit the staff needed at the community diagnostic hubs (CDHs) in England risks already-understaffed hospitals losing key staff to work there.
Companies such as Medica are profiting from this lack of radiologists as NHS hospitals are increasingly having to outsource the analysis of complex scans to private companies to cover the shortfall. In addition, the recruitment of radiologists by Medica means less staff for the NHS or NHS staff working less hours for the NHS and more for private companies.