£7.5 million to digitally schedule NHS shifts

Helen Whately has announced funding worth £7.5 million to support digital shift scheduling across 38 NHS trusts, allowing staff to spend more time with patients.

Noting that e-rostering has proven instrumental when redeploying staff during the pandemic, the Minster for Care said that the investment is part of a £26 million national fund to have all NHS doctors, nurses and other clinical staff on e-rostering systems by 2021.

E-rostering allows clinicians to select shifts digitally, providing them with more flexibility and more efficient work schedules. Specific skillsets can more easily be matched to the right shifts when redeploying staff using digital staff passports. The passports are currently being piloted and can save staff and HR teams time by providing a verified record of identity, employment and training on their smartphone.

A study from 2018 found that caseload scheduling could save each NHS clinician 34 minutes a week, which can add up to hundreds of hours per trust. The technology can also cut costs for the NHS by reducing the reliance on staffing agencies.

Whately said: “People are at the heart of the NHS. Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are the greatest asset we have. I’m determined to help NHS trusts get the best out of our talented healthcare workers and give patients the care they deserve. We’re delivering on another commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to support the use of electronic rosters. E-rostering is a crucial tool to make the most of our dedicated healthcare professionals’ time for looking after patients – something which is needed more than ever during this pandemic.

“Managing shifts more effectively also makes it easier to work flexibly, giving our hardworking clinicians a better work/life balance. I’m pleased even more trusts will now benefit thanks to this £7.5 million funding boost. I’m excited to see how this technology can be implemented in the future, not just in hospitals and pharmacies, but in social care too – making sure everyone gets the right care at the right time.”