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Allocate is proud to be supporting Bolton NHS Foundation Trust as a finalist in the HSJ Awards 2021.

The team has been shortlisted for HSJ Awards, HSJ Partnership of the Year category having won the ‘Information Sharing and Data Integration Award’ at the HSJ Partnership Awards 2021 on our joint project for the free COVID-19 Absence Report. The project was co-developed with David Mulligan, Head of Workforce Systems and Deployment, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. Allocate is delighted to support the entry to recognise the hard work and dedication from the team.

Monitoring Absence during COVID-19

When the Covid-19 pandemic began average sickness tripled almost overnight at Bolton NHSFT due to infected and symptomatic healthcare staff having to quarantine and the necessity for some staff to shield. The reduction in workforce was compounded by a rise in demand on critical care (CCU) and intensive care (ICU). Bolton NHSFT went from rarely exceeding 10 ICU patients to regularly treating 45 to 50. Widespread redeployment of staff was required and over 1000 members of staff were moved to maintain essential services and safe-staffing levels.

David Mulligan, Head of Workforce Systems and Deployment, Bolton NHSFT, manually created a report using Allocate’s HealthRoster software to identify unavailability across the trust. This needed to be coded into usual unavailability such as annual leave, and that resulting from Covid-19. This included sickness, quarantine, shielding, bereavement leave, working from home and study leave for staff members learning new skills to help manage the unfolding crisis. Furthermore, coding needed to be standardised to ensure all Covid-19 related unavailability was captured accurately across the organisation.

This process was time-consuming and relied on the availability of the workforce team itself to ensure daily reports were being produced. Bolton NHS FT approached Allocate to see if it was possible to create this report automatically. A regularly produced, automated report would take some of the strain off the trust’s reporting and clinical staff. It would also ensure that data was accurate and made available in a consistent and timely manner.

Co-Development and Collaboration

Within days, Allocate shared the report prototype with six of its customers, including Bolton NHSFT, to gather feedback. From this it adjusted the design of the report until a general consensus was reached. The result of the collaboration between Bolton NHSFT and Allocate was a free, automated report detailing organisations real-time COVID-19 absence data, accessible to all Allocate customers who hosted their HealthRoster and HealthMedics data in the cloud.

Automated Daily and Future Visibility of Absence

The report is distributed daily to HR directors and rostering administrators. It helps trusts react faster and more efficiently in their workforce planning by splitting the report into two sections: a daily snapshot and absence trendlines.

The daily snapshot shows closing figures for the previous day, breaking down Covid-19 absence by sickness, quarantines, work from home or related leave. This helps trusts understand which divisions, wards, staff groups and grade type are worst affected.

All data is pulled between 2.00am – 6.00am with the report sent at 8.0am in time for daily bed planning meetings.

Trendlines display absence for the past two weeks and two weeks into the future. The historic data indicates whether availability is improving or worsening, whilst the future data helps with workforce planning. It gives an insight into potential areas for concern, an understanding of where additional assistance might be required and where this assistance could potentially come from.

Over 140 Sites Signed Up

Since the launch of the Covid-19 absence reporting tool Allocate has had over 140 customer sites sign up to use the product with over 200 recipients of the daily automated report.

As winners of the HSJ Partnership Awards 2021 announced in June, David Mulligan, Head of Workforce Systems and Deployment, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and the team have been shortlisted for HSJ Awards, HSJ Partnership of the Year category.  We wish all the finalists the best of luck with their entries.

Contact us for more information on how we can work in partnership with you and your organisation on future projects.

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