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Health secretary offers cash to NHS for e-rostering



DoH to provide £200,000 to support wider use of the technology, with a promise it will help to optimise staffing on hospital wards

The NHS needs to step up its usage of e-rostering technology to improve the efficiency of frontline clinician staff allocation, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

He told the NHS Providers annual conference in Birmingham earlier this week that the Department of Health is willing to offer up to an extra £200,000 to support the move across the service.

The minister coupled this with a warning, telling practitioners they were “not doing enough, particularly when it comes to e-rostering” - and that “matching the right mix of staff to a shift or rota” needs to become a “central organising principle” in the service.

He pointed out that “by the end of the next calendar year I want all trusts to make sure they are meeting it.”

Better working conditions

But he combined this with a more positive angle, saying that working conditions for staff would be improved by wider use of the technique to optimise ward staffing levels.

“Places like Stoke Mandeville, Plymouth and the Lister in Stevenage use e-rostering tools that are not just populated with real time information on the acuity of patients, but also meaningful data on the personal needs and skills of staff available so that rostering is flexible, personalised and needs based,” he said.

Hunt has based his confidence on the potential of the technology not just from such use cases, but also from research. Sources include Lord Carter’s February review of NHS efficiency and productivity, which singled out the “enormous clinical and financial potential” of the approach, as well as the NHS Improvement’s June best practice guide on e-rostering.

“Whilst most trusts do now have access to e-rostering software, few are using it to its full potential,” Hunt claimed.

 Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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