Delivering improved colleague satisfaction and flexible working with an effective eRostering rollout in NHS community services
Virgin Care rolled out electronic rostering to more than 100 services, delivering consistent benefits and changing ways of working, in 12 months.
eRostering is delivering more money for the NHS pound, with up to 42p in the pound less being spent on temporary agency staff, delivering a better service for patients.
eRostering has created a better work-life balance, with fairer allocation of annual leave and work, and a 100% reduction in TOIL and overtime in multiple services.
The NHS Long Term Plan, which looks at the future of the health service, set out the need for the service to act as “one NHS” in adopting interventions which deliver proven benefits for patients and staff. As a provider of more than 400 NHS services and employing more than 7,000 predominantly NHS colleagues, Virgin Care took up the challenge in 2019 to begin implementing eRostering – electronic systems to manage staff hours and workload – across all of its services.
Since 2018, NHS England has been focused on reducing reliance on agency staffing across the health service and instead looking towards the “bank” – colleagues employed on highly flexible contracts by NHS providers, who work flexibly as and when it suits both the worker and the employer – to fill the gap instead.
Paper-based rotas, fixed working hours regardless of demand on the service and patients’ preference for appointments, and a managers’ “black book” of phone numbers to call round for temporary ‘bank’ staff have served us well for many years, but increasingly technology can help us to support more flexible working – and cut down on the administrative time spent planning out rotas at the same time.
In 2019, Virgin Care invested half a million pounds in licencing the Allocate’s HealthRoster solution for all of its services across the country. HealthRoster is a proven solution, used across the health service, and offers key functionality to delivering the benefits of eRostering. Its features include automatic scheduling, an app-based “bank” function which lets staff register interest in working, and book shifts, directly and a powerful reporting platform allowing managers to more closely monitor and understand how resources in their service are being used.
By implementing eRostering across our organisation, we have delivered significant and consistent and quantifiable benefits, succeeding in using technology as an enabler rather than a transformation in and of itself.
We have seen:
Up to 100% reduction in staff working over or under their contracted hours, meaning happier colleagues and increasing the capacity of the service without adding additional cost by removing the need for Time off in Lieu to be taken
A reduction of more than £2m across all 100 services on agency spend; approximately 2% in each service.
Approximately 30% reduction in the overall cost of staffing services with the system, as a result of using bank colleagues not agency and more efficient scheduling of leave and working hours
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