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Fear of change and cultural resistance within NHS Trusts is the most significant barrier to successfully implementing medical rostering software, according to a poll of more than 100 NHS organisations.

However, implementing eRostering can unlock extra resources, ensure compliance with the European Working Time Directive, improve patient safety and lead to better team working amongst medics because annual or sick leave is automatically tracked.

The poll, undertaken by Allocate Software at a study day attended by over 280 people from over 100 NHS organisations, found:

  • Four in ten (43%) said the biggest barrier to engaging doctors was a resistance to change;
  • Two thirds (66%) of respondents said that the most significant barrier to the success of medical rostering was the culture of their organisation;
  • Only 8% felt that their Trust was 100 per cent progressed to where their organisation needs to be.

The virtual study day hosted by Allocate Software with James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust focused on the trust’s success in implementing medical rostering. The organisation went from a standing start to implementing full rostering within a division of 400 medics within nine months. Within 18 months, it had been rolled out across the Trust to all 4,329 staff.

During the session Laura Green, the trust’s senior workforce project manager, revealed how good engagement and an understanding of how different departments worked were crucial to the rollout’s success. Some departments were more challenging than others as some, such as anaesthetists, work in very different ways from others.

By constantly communicating with the medics, the team could showcase the software and let it speak for itself. Laura said: “We helped our medics understand it wasn’t about monitoring, but instead about providing extra support by being able to see which colleagues were available and where to pick up theatre lists, clinics or respond to an on-call request.

“That level of visibility is good for patient experience and safety. It shows as an organisation that we have responsive clinicians who know where each other are and who is best placed to respond to a patient.”

Integral to the achievement was setting up a dedicated team with enough resources and good relationships with medics. Allocate also helped guide the team through the implementation, providing training and access to forums and webinars where necessary.

Leigh Malyon, Head of Medics, Allocate said: “Using eRostering systems creates better visibility of the medical workforce across an organisation, revealing where shifts and activities need to be filled and who is available to fill them. In addition, the systems can be tailored to the needs of individual organisations, ensuring suitability for whoever needs to use it. Providing greater transparency and visibility of rosters leads to the creation of extra capacity, ultimately leading to improved patient safety and experience.”

Read the complete case study about the experience at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.