Efficient rostering has been at the forefront of operational discussions during recent years. The Lord Carter investigation highlighted that the variations in costs and practices, if addressed, could save the NHS a significant amount of money. However by solely focusing on the monetary value of the challenge misses the importance of using existing roles and technology to ensure that resources are used appropriately in providing patient care.

Following the Lord Carter Investigation Wales has seen a number of developments in relation to efficient rostering in recent years.  Most recently, The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 requires Health Service bodies to make provision for appropriate nurse staffing levels, and ensure that they are providing sufficient nurses to allow the nurses’ time to care for patients sensitively.  The Act commenced in August 2016 beginning with Adult Acute Medical and Surgical wards across Wales. Section 25A entitled Overarching responsibility came into force in April 2017 and requires all Welsh Health Boards to ensure they have robust workforce plans, recruitment strategies, structures and processes in place to ensure appropriate nurse staffing levels across the organisations. In April 2018, the remaining sections of the Act will come into force. The Act codifies best practice for calculating and maintaining staffing levels in specific clinical areas. Wales is also in the process of establishing a core set of rostering metrics for all Health Boards that will be reported to Welsh Government. This will be completely new for Wales and will present challenges in how this is achieved.

For me, as a rostering professional, it’s more important than ever to have a supporting network of peers to learn and share best practice with as well as find out about and discuss new ideas to tackle the ever changing workforce challenge. I get this through the Allocate User Group community. The annual conference is the biggest gathering of healthcare rostering professionals in the UK and so is best opportunity for this kind of networking and learning.

This year the User Group Conference will take place in the Hilton Hotel, Manchester on 17th& 18th October. The conference has been arranged by the Steering Committee made up of the Chairs of the Regional User Groups – I am the Chair for Wales – and is based on the conversations and topics that have been discussed during the last year. Therefore, our conference is based on our experiences. The User Group work closely with Allocate in ensuring that the systems meet the needs of the users. The conference is an ideal opportunity to hear from Sati Sian, CEO , Allocate and his team and the new developments of the products. 

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The User Group conference 2017 has been designed to allow delegates to visualise and experience the potential of using Allocate Software solutions to manage resources. There are many different Healthcare providers presenting at the conference who are keen to share their experiences in using the different products that are available. There are many sessions which will show you the potential of the different products in addition to giving you handy tips on setting up your systems and processes! 

I am particularly interested in attending sessions and hearing from colleagues who have effectively implemented SafeCare – software designed specifically to compare staffing levels and skill mix to the actual patient demand in real time – and used the KPI process to improve rostering and reduced the reliance on bank and Agency staff.  As you can see from the agenda (here) there are many different sessions to chose from which cover a vast amount of topics. The sessions on “accelerated rollout of SafeCare” – South Tees Trust and “the evolution of reporting” – Airedale NHS Foundation Trust are of particular interest to me and the changes that will be taking place in Wales. I am also very excited to by the fabulous Key Note Speaker that has been arranged, you will not want to miss this session…

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