A workforce management solution at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust has been reducing costs and freeing up more time to care.

The use of an electronic rota management system improves clinical and financial efficiency at ward level - bank usage has been reduced by over 50 per cent and head room contingency cut to 23 per cent.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells now has 1600 nursing staff using SMART’s e-rostering solution, which is approximately 82 per cent of all nursing staff.  Over half are working on rosters with a live link to ESR payroll. 

The system has already allowed the trust to reduce its “head room” contingency from 24 per cent to 23 per cent. Across the entire nursing budget this 1 per cent saving represents a significant sum.  The “head room” contingency is the extra staff needed above establishment requirements to ensure there is cover for holidays, sickness and other absence. 

Implementation of the bank management system for emergency nurse practitioners has so far reduced bank usage by 53 per cent without increasing the need for management resources. 

Liza Wolvey, project manager for the e-Rostering rollout at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust explained: “It isn’t just about saving money, the trust wants to improve the quality of care provided to patients and the quality of working conditions for staff.  The aim is to implement safe and effective rosters that will improve working conditions and provide a clear record of who was working at any given time, while ensuring that there is always the correct skill mix on wards to ensure patient safety and quality of care.” 

The trust now has nine medical rosters for doctors monitoring absence, number of nights worked and on-call, annual and study leave, number of weekends worked and sickness. The trust is planning to roll out e-rostering to all employees to gain a trust-wide picture of absence.

The system’s bi-directional interface, allows the synchronisation of employee, absence and payroll information between ESR and payroll capturing all data on hours worked and applicable rates of pay. The improved accuracy using the ESR link is at 95 per cent compared to less than 50 per cent when manual timesheets were in use. 

“Providing advance notice of rosters, and making them more flexible has been proven to reduce absence. Ensuring staff get paid correctly and promptly for hours worked has had a positive impact on motivation which is a tremendous benefit to the trust as a whole,” adds Ms Wolvey.