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  • Writer's pictureProfessor Srinivasa Rao Vallabhaneni

Bridging the Gaps in Levels of Attainment

Updated: Jul 4, 2023


cartoon purple people building a bridge with a lightbulb

It’s that time of year again. The last month will have seen NHS Trusts up and down the country submitting their self-assessments for the Levels of Attainment for e-Rostering and eJob Planning to NHS England.


Whether your organisation approaches this task with a swagger or a sense of trepidation, what is often most interesting is how completing the survey can highlight vast discrepancies in attainment between staff groups and departments within the same Trust. Are your endocrinologists already implementing capacity and demand metrics, while your paediatricians are still managing their leave via Whatsapp? Or are your Clinical Nurse Specialists effectively team job planning, while your pharmacists work from a spreadsheet? If so, then you aren’t alone.


The Workforce Deployment surveys are sent out annually to all Trusts for completion, and results correlated by NHS England to generate a baseline measurement of eRostering and eJob Planning coverage and usage nationally. This helps to idenitfy progress towards the commitments to implement and optimise eRostering and eJob Planning software systems set out in the NHS People Plan.


e-Job Planning meaningful use standards checklist

The survey breaks down key standards at each ‘Level of Attainment’, listing key actions and evidence associated with each point. Trusts are then prompted to enter whether each element has been met, or remains outstanding, across all relevant staff groups (Medical & Dental, Nursing & Midwifery, Allied Health Professionals, Pharmacy, Healthcare Scientists and Talking Therapies). Whilst the survey responses can be something of a mixed bag across the different standards, it will generally allow the organisation to define an overall Level that has been attained as an organisation, as well as identifying priority areas for development.


One of the major challenges for Trusts is that different staff groups and departments can move at different speeds with the successful implementation of job planning and rostering systems and processes. This can be for any number of reasons, ranging from a lack of engagement to difficulties identifying leads for job planning and rostering for certain groups, or prioritising operational challenges in specific departments.


Similarly, some staff groups might be more accustomed to certain processes than others (for example Medical and Dental staff might be familiar with job planning, but less ready to be rostered). This will mean that Trusts often face some very specific challenges in advancing the levels of attainment across the organisation, and will need careful planning to address the areas that remain incomplete on the survey.


So what are the top tips to ensure you’re supporting those forgotten areas? We suggest the following:


1) Ensure that the clinicians in that area have access to a system that is suitable for their role and specialty.


One size doesn’t fit all! There’s nothing worse than trying to manage theatre sessions on a rostering system designed for wards, and your AHPs won’t want to job plan in PAs and trawl through consultant activities.


2) Identify and support lead clinicians.


The best way to maximise engagement is to identify a friendly face within that staff group or department, who can help to outline the benefits and to ensure that the software is configured to their needs.


3) Use a responsive software provider.


No two Trusts and no two departments are the same, and you’re almost certain to need some additional support (or development) along the way as you engage with new areas. The last thing you need is a company that’ll take 28 days to reply to that first email!


4) Try to avoid using too many separate systems.


Sometimes it can be tempting to look for specific systems to meet the needs of individual departments and staff groups, but while this may be a quick route to faster engagement, it can lead to trouble down the line. Central reporting becomes really difficult, as can aligning data outputs, then there are interoperability challenges, multiple passwords, and the list goes on. You also don’t want half the Trust on a system that can get them to Levels 3 and 4, and the other half on a system that won’t support them past Level 1.


Ultimately, this isn’t just about being able to tick more boxes on next year’s LoA survey. Still, there are huge benefits that can be derived from implementing the right eRostering and eJob Planning software across your Trust. As NHS England has identified, it is a key enabler in optimising the deployment of your clinical workforce and in supporting staff wellbeing, by better matching capacity to patient demand and improving quality care and outcomes for your patients.


Premier IT are proud to provide cost-effective Job Planning and Rostering systems that can support staff across your organisation. Please get in touch to find out more about how we might be able to assist with advancing your Levels of Attainment for next year.

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