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NHS Workforce Systems: Making Savings with Simplicity

nhs workforce systems

As the Artificial Intelligence revolution gathers pace, there’s naturally a growing curiosity as to how emerging technologies might be able to help resolve some of the challenges facing the NHS at the moment. But whilst we might be some way off a software-based doctor blitzing through waiting lists, there are many simple benefits to be realised by adopting modern workforce management systems like Zebra e-Rostering.

 

The Importance of Transparent Workforce Planning in the NHS

Workforce planning involves forecasting the number of staff required to meet the service demands. It encompasses assessing current staffing levels, anticipating future demand, and ensuring the right skills are available at the right times and in the right places. In the NHS, an intricate web of roles and responsibilities across hospitals, clinics and community services requires meticulous planning to ensure the seamless delivery of patient care.

 

The first part of workforce planning is knowing who works for the Trust, and in an organisation with thousands of staff and roles, this can become a huge task in itself. The Zebra system’s market-leading integration with ESR means that starters, leavers, movers and contractual changes are reflected in the rostering system automatically which provides a substantial time saving for administrative staff.

 

Rostering: Simplifying Staff Scheduling

Traditional rostering methods often involved cumbersome paperwork, manual data entry, and limited visibility into staff availability, leading to inefficiencies and increased administrative costs. We still speak to lots of organisations using various systems across different areas, meaning there is no consistency of process and a lot of manual data entry.

 

A classic example is where Doctors in Training work schedules are created on one system and then sent out to departments who then have to laboriously load them onto whatever system or spreadsheet they’re using to maintain the rota. Therefore, when the Zebra system creates (and compliance checks) the Junior rotas and then automatically applies the shifts for the full rotation with no manual intervention, it can lead to vast time savings. Leave management, swaps, self-rostering and team comms are all handled in one place so there is no duplication and the benefits are huge.

 

Benefits of Simplicity in Workforce Systems

  1. Cost Savings: Simplified systems help in identifying staffing inefficiencies, reducing temporary staffing costs and ensuring optimal utilisation of resources, resulting in significant cost savings for Trusts.

  2. Improved Efficiency: Automation of rostering processes minimises errors, eliminates manual tasks, and allows for quicker adjustments, ensuring smoother operations and improved staff satisfaction.

  3. Enhanced Patient Care: By ensuring the right staff with the right skills are available when needed, effective systems contribute to better patient care experiences and outcomes.

 

Embracing Innovation for Future Sustainability

As the demand for the NHS continues to grow and working practices evolve, embracing innovation remains pivotal for the NHS to ensure the sustainability of its workforce systems. But it’s only by doing the basics well, and embedding efficient processes, that these systems will be able to offer more advanced functionality in the future.

 

With technologies becoming more advanced in other sectors, there can be a temptation to try to run before walking. However, for many NHS Trusts, the greatest efficiency savings can be made by focusing on doing the basics right. This might involve less glamorous tasks like aligning the language used in job planning and rostering systems or reviewing naming conventions for clinic codes, but it’s only with these solid data foundations that effective advances can be made.

 

But for those who want their AI fix, don’t worry as Zebra can cater for you too!

 

Not only does the Zebra system allow organisations to thrive by simplifying their processes, but it also has an AI-based Roster optimiser called Dazzle for when Trusts are ready to take the next step in their digital transformation.

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