The government has pledged £7.5million to support electronic rostering systems for NHS staff.
The funding will be spread across 40 NHS trusts and will include hospitals, clinics and pharmacies with the aim to save money and staff time through the ability to digitally plan shifts.
It is part of a £26million national fund to have all NHS doctors, nurses and other clinical staff on e-rostering systems by 2021, a commitment made in the Long Term Plan published in January 2019.
During the pandemic, e-rostering has been instrumental in redeploying staff, reporting absences and managing working hours, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said in a statement.
NHS trusts have reported an increased appetite across clinicians to implement e-rostering as a result, the DHSC added.
Helen Whately, minister of state for care, said: “People are at the heart of the NHS. Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are the greatest asset we have.
“We’re delivering on another commitment in the NHS Long-Term Plan to support the use of electronic rosters. E-rostering is a crucial tool to make the most of our dedicated healthcare professionals’ time for looking after patients – something which is needed more than ever during this pandemic.
“Managing shifts more effectively also makes it easier to work flexibly, giving our hardworking clinicians a better work/life balance.”
Trusts benefitting from this latest round of funding include mental health and community as well as specialist and general acute.
Five of the trusts plan to use the software to also schedule patient appointments.
“I’m excited to see how this technology can be implemented in the future, not just in hospitals and pharmacies, but in social care too – making sure everyone gets the right care at the right time,” Whately said.
Four NHS trusts which received funding earlier in the rollout have created the North West London Collaborative Staff Bank, a shared pool of available clinicians who can fill shift vacancies to match surges in demand for staff.
It is part of a wider strategy by NHS England and Improvement and NHSX to build a collaborative and flexible workforce through the use of technology. The DHSC is also to work with trusts to improve and upgrade their workforce deployment systems.
Anna Stabler, executive chief nurse at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, one of the trust benefitting from this round of funding, said: “The funding will be utilised to deliver electronic rostering and case management systems that will in turn benefit our staff and patients alike.
“It will mean our staff can support patients in a more timely manner, whilst reducing their travel time and improve their working arrangements. We’re very much looking forward to getting this piece of work underway.”