Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust image

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has revealed plans to roll out a new rostering system from British software company Allocate, which will save approximately 600 hours per month on workforce management.

The announcement forms part of the Trust’s digital strategy to replace disparate ways of working, achieve real-time visibility into the working practices of all its staff, as well as improve the work-life balance of its workforce.

Following a rigorous tender process, which saw the Trust review seven workforce and resource planning software providers, Allocate’s e-rostering software – HealthRoster – proved the most competitive.

Its interoperability, ensuring it is able to link with other core systems, proved to be a top consideration as well as functionality and cost. The solution is used by NHS organisations, care homes, the independent sector as well as some of the largest healthcare providers globally.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s vision is to use the system to roster and plan its 7,000 staff, 95 percent of which work at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Around 150 different rosters are created in the hospital, with each four-week roster usually taking senior nurses seven to eight hours to complete. With the new system, the Trust anticipates it will take just one to two hours, delivering significant time savings.

Tom Weeks, Workforce Systems Implementation Manager at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our disparate ways of working meant we lacked the visibility, intelligence and interoperability required to create up-to-date and accurate staff rosters – and in advance too. And, in any NHS organisation, this is critical.

“HealthRoster will make it easy for us to evaluate if we are keeping the right level of staffing for the best patient care. It will also enable us to ensure that all of our staff are being treated fairly, with sufficient notice of work patterns and that they are working the appropriate hours – through seeing which shifts they are taking and so helping them achieve a better work-life balance.”

Additionally, the e-rostering system can integrate with the Trust’s temporary and seasonal staff system, and its internal staff database. The latter is a critical requirement for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust due to the numerous changes each month from staff departures and new hires through to changing roles and responsibilities.

It needed a system that could automatically replicate these changes, therefore saving the several minutes it currently takes to update one single transaction.

Hugh Ashley, Managing Director of Allocate UK & Ireland, said: “It has never been more important to support the people we all depend on to deliver care. For us, that is not only about how our technology underpins their work, but also how it makes things easier, as fair and safe as possible and how it supports their well-being.

“There are no signs of pressure on the NHS letting up so the trust needs a system to be perfect – it has to work exactly how it needs it to – which is why it has chosen to work with us.”

HealthRoster will be complemented with Allocate’s Me App, an easy-to-use app which enables staff to interact with the rostering system from their mobile phone. They can check their own, and their team’s, rosters, leave and study information on the move, as well as book temporary shifts or submit availability to work more shifts.

Tom added: “The app will demonstrate real innovation in our trust. It will help our staff operate digitally and with ease, in the way they will be familiar in their personal lives using apps for day to day tasks. It will ultimately contribute to the NHS’ wider mission to become paperless and encourage self-care so that staff can provide care to the patients that need it the most.”

HealthRoster will be implemented in two phases.

The first will encompass all nursing staff followed by corporate staff such as corporate and administration. The second will include medical staff, starting with its junior doctors.

Hugh concluded: “Having an organisation like Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, with such forward-thinking leaders, select Allocate is a real testament, not only to our technology and service but most importantly to the achievements that our customers have demonstrated in using that technology. We really welcome the team at Portsmouth to our community and look forward to working side-by-side to help them achieve their aspirations and goals.

Allocate Software is an international provider of workforce and resource planning solutions, supporting the operational and administrative needs of healthcare, defence and maritime sectors.

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