05th November 2019 Written by Rob Kinnersley

Image: Realtime Rostering.In November 2019, it will be announced how many NHS trusts have been successful in their bid for NHSI Workforce Deployment Systems Capital Funding applications.

This £26M 2-year fund was announced by NHSI in 2018 to support trusts with the development and implementation of e-rostering and job planning, an aim outlined in the NHS long term plan. The plan includes ambitions that trusts will aim to deploy electronic rosters or e-job plans by 2021.

It has been indicated that £7M has been put forward for this financial year. Trusts may have several considerations when looking at the most suitable e-rostering providers to meet their needs, such as customer service, costs, innovation and of course interoperability.

With industry-wide interoperability now a long way to being developed thanks to the work of a range of providers working with the NHS, it is now possible to work with a variety of organisations that can partner-up and tailor solutions to meet your needs. You’re no longer bound to work with just one provider, soon all systems will have to talk to each other, providing you the flexibility you need to roster all staff groups safely and effectively.

Unfortunately, there is a perception that the barriers of working with new providers are too great to make significant changes. Factors include the workload to assess suppliers and the perceived hassle of organisational change. But, depending on who your preferred partners are, this doesn’t have to be the case. NHS Trusts can consider some simple things to support their e-rostering goals:

  • Work with partners, not providers. Ensure your partners deliver a solution that you not only need but want. If your provider doesn’t have some flexibility to meet the unique requirements of your organisation, it may not work for you.
  • Work with partners who collaborate. With interoperability a key factor, it’s important to work with an organisation who is not only capable, but willing to embrace collaboration to make interoperability work seamlessly. Not every provider can do everything, and it’s important to recognise that collaboration makes solutions work smarter.
  • Work with someone who is more than just a systems provider. The uniqueness of rostering in the NHS goes beyond code and algorithms. Providers should know about the complex needs of healthcare rostering to be able to ensure they meet the ever-evolving demands of the sector.

As advocates of the healthcare workforce, we believe that suppliers should have a meaningful understanding of the sector. Our expertise in workforce development, healthcare training and national occupational standards, combined with the lived experience of our people, means we deliver solutions that are fit-for-purpose and meet the complex needs of the NHS. DRS (Doctors Rostering System) and Realtime Rostering have been designed and implemented with real-world challenges in mind to support the NHS in its bid to make e-rostering future-proofed. If you would like to discuss working with Skills for Health on your e-rostering ambitions or your funding application, get in touch today.