Locum’s Nest was founded in 2015 by Dr Nicholas Andreou and Dr Ahmed Shahrabani, trying to help their hospitals fill dangerously understaffed wards with more qualified temporary staff instead of resorting to expensive recruitment agencies. What was a critical problem for our health service, was solved with a brilliantly simple solution: a consumer-style mobile app that enabled doctors to effortlessly book and work additional shifts directly for their hospitals and GP practices. Locum’s Nest Match, the technology which effectively digitises hospital staff banks for a much more efficient matching of vacant shifts to qualified professionals, has grown in popularity over the past four years, matching nearly 1 million healthcare professionals to vacant NHS shifts, saving our health service millions of pounds in the process.
What’s wrong with Rostering as we know it?
However, when it comes to solving the NHS staffing crisis, a number of challenges actually start with rostering. Traditionally, rostering for medics, which is a very complex profession with dynamic shift patterns, has been organised using either excel spreadsheets or modified e-rosters from other professional groups such as Nurses. The latter can create multiple issues and frictions within a department or a ward as these adapted e-rostering models are not always fit for purpose for medics. With a vast amount of knowledge and data accumulated over the past 6 years, hundreds of focus groups with clinicians and an extensive network of partners including advanced rostering system Rotageek and established Allocate Software, Locum’s Nest has now proudly launched Locum’s Nest Rota, the e-rostering service providing an advanced and quality end-to-end NHS workforce solution to front-line medics. This launch is quite timely as the Health Secretary recently pledged £7.5m to support digital shift scheduling across 38 NHS Trusts, allowing healthcare professionals to spend more time with patients.
Can rostering become an inclusive and compassionate process?
As we look to the future of rostering capabilities, a number of opportunities arise for NHS teams to start using rostering to better match their patients’ needs whilst simultaneously increasing flexibility for staff. The NHS People Plan endeavours to foster a culture of growth, inclusion and, belonging; fundamentally, a well looked after workforce, coupled with a fit for purpose rostering solution, is the foundation needed to support this.
Co-Founder Dr Nicholas Andreou says “It’s no secret that shift work in the healthcare industry can be extremely tough on the work-life balance of its employees and this usually starts with an unsuitable roster. Systems such as Locum’s Nest Rota that allow rostering to be a collaborative process to balance both patient demands and employee needs can start to address this well-known problem. While training-grade doctors tend to work template rota patterns, we see a future where medical staffing is driven by fluctuating patient demand.”
As already seen in Locum’s Nest Rota, this data-driven roster optimisation allows accurate matching of staff work preferences to patient needs. With industry evidence, this will most likely drive a reduction in time to treat patients, length of hospital stays and a general improvement in patient reported outcome measures, whilst improving staff satisfaction as a result of enhanced shift flexibility. With a mission to improve the wellbeing of our frontline professionals, Locum’s Nest Rota, developed by doctors for doctors, allows medics to create safe and compliant rotas whilst also allowing staff a flexible and balanced work-life.
Chairman Allen Swann comments “Having led the growth of Allocate Software from 3 NHS Trusts to well over 175 during my tenure, it brings me great pleasure to see Locum’s Nest replicating Allocate’s success in nurse rostering across medics rostering in the NHS. Having seen Locum’s Nest Rota, I am impressed at the level of detail, governance and above all usability of the medical e-roster and have no doubt that this will become the de facto rostering platform of choice for all NHS clinicians.”
Co-Founder Dr Ahmed Shahrabani continues “Locum’s Nest Rota is a breath of fresh air for the NHS and all of our medical colleagues – a roster that empowers medics, providing equal amounts of autonomy, flexibility and protection. A constructive rather than constrictive roster with the vision of empowering healthcare professionals. We expect a mass roll-out across dozens of NHS Trusts over the next few months”
This new product offering will create a total workforce solution that is not only deeply integrated, but also genuinely cutting edge and best-in-class. However, as true believers of software interoperability, Locum’s Nest stands by its vow to remain open to integrations with several rostering, bank and vendor management services in order to offer choice and deliver a gold-standard end-to-end workforce solution for the benefit of the entire NHS.