Royal Bournemouth: Creating trust-wide multidisciplinary e-rosters in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust knew it needed to redeploy almost its entire staff to the Covid-19 wards in order to manage acute patient demand, and with 200 medical staff and 60 consultants to consider, it became obvious at a very early stage that all staff would need to be rostered in order to provide the visibility required to ensure all Covid-19 patients received the best care possible, 24 hours per day.

What challenges did the trust face?

Although the trust had been e-rostering for around 10 years, users of the software were predominantly among the nursing and junior doctor population and, in common with many trusts, getting senior medics and consultants onto a rostering system had historically been challenging.

It was also evident, that while IT and HR departments acted immediately to ensure that staff across the trust were redeployed effectively and efficiently to make Covid-19 patients a priority, challenges from both a workforce supply and workforce demand perspective created new obstacles in tracking its entire staff.

How did the trust respond?

12 months prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Dr Becky Jupp - Clinical Director for the Stroke and Older Persons’ Medicine (OPM) at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, had used Allocate’s HealthRoster solution for a particular project that had benefited from successful outcomes from both a patient care and safety perspective as well as consultant relationship perspective. Dr Jupp had also extended rostering requirements across the Stroke and OPM departments that she was responsible for.

Building on her previous experience, and working with the IT team, Dr Jupp once again turned to HealthRoster to create a roster that would ensure the right care was in place 24x7 during the Covid-19 pandemic. A clear pattern of three x 12 hour shifts was created for consultants, with four consultants working nightshifts.

Extending across the trust to all professionals

With the consultant pattern established, Dr Jupp then created four teams across the hospital in a ‘house’ system which included the nursing staff and junior doctors, so everyone was on the same key roster. Staff were then in ‘houses’ working long shifts, but the system ran smoothly with all staff having full visibility of all rotas via the ME app, or by looking at the desktop site.

“Overall, there was an extremely positive reaction to the roster, and I am absolutely sold on it! We used it throughout April and May, although by June we felt more comfortable that we didn’t need such arduous shift patterns, and so more ‘business as usual’ measures were introduced at that point. All of this was communicated via the ME app which worked really well for us and people are still using it. It’s great because you have oversight of both your team, as well as any other team you’re interested in.” Dr Becky Jupp

Reflecting on learnings during the pandemic

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust needed senior buy-in to, and engagement with, an e-rostering approach. While the arrival of Covid-19 was catastrophic, it did nevertheless provide the stimulus required to adopt the e-rostering approach and the positive results experienced in terms of efficiency of service means it will remain within the trust.

“The situation has been a complex one, and our first rota took a year to put together, but we’re now designing rotas for multiple departments in just 48 hours! In all honesty, I don’t know how we would have coped with resourcing during Covid-19 without Allocate and their HealthRoster solution. With 60 consultants to schedule, Excel simply wouldn’t have cut it!” Dr Becky Jupp

For more information on how Allocate can support your rostering or planning preparations for Covid-19, a return to service and winter pressures, email us at [email protected]

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