East Anglian hospital delivers eRostering technology for medics

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to rollout Allocate software across its medical community.

The medical workforce at a leading hospital trust in East Anglia is to benefit from an eRostering programme which is designed to improve both patient care and increase fairness around doctors’ rostering schedule as well as improving their experience at work.  James Paget University Hospital in Great Yarmouth is introducing Activity Manager, the e-Rostering software from Allocate, to increase transparency and better manage the deployment of clinical staff across its wards, theatres and clinics.

The Trust has around 500 inpatient beds and wants to optimise its skilled medical workforce across the hospital. The organisation aims to gain real-time visibility of their working practices; ensuring staff are deployed most effectively to meet the needs of their patients, whilst ensuring the workload of medics is tracked to ensure they have fair and equitable working practices across the team. With knowledge of who is working when, and those who are unavailable – for example for study leave – clinical workforce managers will have the information needed to make informed rostering decisions.

The Trust went live with e-rostering software for its nursing workforce back in 2010 and the benefits have been so impactful that it was critical to ensure this could be applied to the medical workforce.  ActivityManager is being rolled out to its 320 doctors and medical staff to cover 12 departments.  The first staff grouping to be included in the rollout of ActivityManager is the Trust’s Anaesthetists.  They are the largest group; 45 hospital based specialists, critical to delivering vital services across inpatient and outpatient services.

Allocate’s e-Rostering platform now provides the Trust with a complete, consolidated picture of clinical staffing across all departments, including its bank and agency staff. The system enables it to compare available skills and capacity with specific patient needs in a single view, highlighting exactly what resource is needed to staff a shift. Using data captured by e-Rostering, the Trust can align budget and team information with patient requirements, providing a joined-up approach to resource planning and enabling it to tailor shifts and budgets more effectively.

Recognising how important medical staff are to the hospital the Director of Transformation and Workforce at James Paget wanted to rollout out ActivityManager with a key group of staff recognising they were the hub of the hospital.

Deborah Chapman, E-roster / ESR / Temporary Staffing Service Manager commented:

“Our priority as a Trust is to ensure patients always come first and remain at the heart of everything we do.  It is vital therefore that we have a complete picture of our clinical staffing across the organisation and we are keen to have a suite of products that will deliver this.

ActivityManager will deliver our teams with up to date information on which staff are on duty in which clinic, ward or theatre at any given time. It will also help us redeploy staff when cancellations occur or members of staff are called away.

Mr Vivek Chitre, Deputy Medical Director, commented:

“As a Trust we believe in the huge benefits of e-Rostering technology and the impact it has on patients. We are now working with our Anaesthetists to scope out how the technology can provide them with the optimum support.  This technology is fundamental to building a medical workforce that is fit for the future and meets the changing demand and expectation in how care is delivered.”

The NHS has outlined the key workforce challenges it plans to tackle in its interim People Plan and in a recent GMC report into medical practice.  It plans to build a medical workforce that is fit for the future that meets the changing demands on how care is delivered.

With the NHS facing its largest skills crisis, staff retention is currently a key goal for all trusts. E-Rostering can improve work-life balance for medics by offering flexibility and transparency when it comes to managing their shifts and CPD.  The role of transparent and fair rostering will also serve to address issues with rota gaps and the obscuring and duplication of rotas.  Streamlining rotas by both patient acuity and the medics’ skills and experience enables the trust to maintain the best patient care.

Nick Wilson, CEO, Allocate, commented

“James Paget is a Trust that has embraced e-Rostering at the highest level in the organisation and is now gaining a much better understanding of its clinical workforce. Having a clear view of its capacity and how staff are utilised is enabling a move to real time resource management and more effective activity management aligned to patient flow.  This is a great example of how technology is transforming workforce management across an entire organisation.”

To ensure success of the new working practices, the Trust has expanded the e-Rostering team to include 80% of the 3500 staff.  The introduction of new project managers and account managers for nursing, medics and AHPs now means a dedicated team is available to support to e-Rostering of the individual staff groups.

The Trust has learnt an enormous amount from the e-Rostering project, particularly that such digital initiatives will only succeed if doctors and consultants embrace a new way of working and support the embedding of a new digital culture Trust-wide.


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