James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is rolling out e-rostering software across its medical workforce to better manage the distribution of clinical staff.

The East Anglian hospital trust is introducing Allocate’s Activity Manager platform to 320 doctors and medical staff to cover 12 departments, which it hopes will improve transparency and increase fairness around doctors’ rostering schedule.

James Paget has around 500 inpatient beds and wants to optimise its skilled medical workforce across the hospital.

The trust hopes to gain real-time visibility of working practices so that staff can be deployed most effectively across wards, theatres and clinics to meet the needs of their patients.

The software will additionally track the workload of medics to ensure that working practices are fair. With knowledge of who is working when, and those who are unavailable – for example for study leave – clinical workforce managers will have the information needed to make informed rostering decisions.

James Paget went live with e-rostering software for its nursing workforce back in 2010. The trust’s anaesthetists, which make up the hospital’s largest workforce, will be the first group to be included in the rollout of Activity Manager.

Vivek Chitre, deputy medical director at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a trust, we believe in the huge benefits of e-rostering technology and the impact it has on patients. We are now working with our anaesthetists to scope out how the technology can provide them with the optimum support.

“This technology is fundamental to building a medical workforce that is fit for the future and meets the changing demand and expectation in how care is delivered.”

Allocate’s e-rostering platform will provide a complete picture of clinical staffing across all departments, including its bank and agency staff.

The system allows users to compare available skills and capacity with specific patient needs, highlighting what resources are needed on a shift.

Using data captured by e-rostering, hospitals can align budget and team information with patient requirements, providing a more effective approach to resource planning and enabling them to tailor shifts and budgets accordingly.

Deborah Chapman, e-roster temporary staffing service manager, said: “Our priority as a trust is to ensure patients always come first and remain at the heart of everything we do.  It is vital therefore that we have a complete picture of our clinical staffing across the organisation and we are keen to have a suite of products that will deliver this.

“ActivityManager will deliver our teams with up to date information on which staff are on duty in which clinic, ward or theatre at any given time. It will also help us redeploy staff when cancellations occur or members of staff are called away.”

The NHS has outlined the key workforce challenges it plans to tackle in its interim People Plan and in a recent GMC report into medical practice.

This includes building a medical workforce that is fit for the future and meets the changing demands of how care is delivered.

According to Allocate, the role of transparent and fair rostering serves to address issues with rota gaps and the obscuring and duplication of rotas, enabling trusts to provide a higher quality of patient care.

Digital Health news understands that James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is in the process of planning for an electronic patient record system, which it currently does not have.

Nick Wilson, CEO of Allocate, said: “James Paget is a trust that has embraced e-rostering at the highest level in the organisation and is now gaining a much better understanding of its clinical workforce.

“Having a clear view of its capacity and how staff are utilised is enabling a move to real time resource management and more effective activity management aligned to patient flow. This is a great example of how technology is transforming workforce management across an entire organisation.”