As a new customer back in 2014, I didn’t know what to expect from the National User Group Conference. Dorset HealthCare had only had HealthRoster for about 6 months so this was completely new to us.

On day 1, the opening morning included a session with Professor Sir Mike Richards from the CQC. He talked about CQC inspection regime was changing and how, over time, more and more information would be used from rostering systems in their inspections. It cemented in my head that the direction we were heading in was the right one, even if it felt like a battle at times.

The 2 days passed very quickly and I attended as many sessions as I could on subjects from “Maintaining a Dedicated eRoster Team” to “Investing in eRoster Training” to “Lessons Learned in Reducing Bank & Agency”……there were so many sessions to choose from that I quickly recognised the value of at least 2 of us to attending the following year.

So, fast forward a year to 2015.

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On day 1, there was a session with Jim Mackay and Lyn McIntyre MBE from NHSi. They talked about the national staffing challenges and need to reduce the use of Agency. There was the opportunity for questions from the floor so I asked how NHSi were supporting organisations with balancing the Safe Staffing requirements with the need to use agency to plug the gaps? It was a great opportunity to question NHSi and to feedback on the challenges we had at ward level. Lyn took some time to speak with me after the session to hear about the issues we had with staffing in Prisons and Mental Health in very rural and remote areas. It felt we were being listened to rather than just being talked at.

That year I also presented on “Ward to Board Engagement” which was a great success and very well attended. Afterwards I was contacted by around 25 other Trusts who were keen on getting more information.

“My manager also attended with me this year but with so many sessions to cover we barely saw each other for the 2 days! We made sure that we didn’t attend the same sessions to really get value from the 2 days and we were the last to leave at the end of day 2. The knowledge shared and information we were able to take back from the 2 days was invaluable.”

So, 2016. This year I presented on our Agency CIP Project. I talked about the work undertaken to reduce the spend, how information from HealthRoster had allowed us to target problem areas, what had worked, what hadn’t worked and the collaborative working within the Trust. It’s really quite gratifying to be asked to share your story and really embeds that all the hard work and the challenges faced are something that others want to hear about. We also won the Allocate Award for Collaborative Working which was a really great feeling. Read the Award write up

Again, the 2 days were packed with sessions on everything from effective medics rostering, consultant job planning, reducing agency spend, implementing SafeCare.

What I found as a customer was the value in this being User led. The vast majority of the sessions are delivered by Trusts or Health Boards who speak very openly about their challenges, their work and their success. It’s the focus on how people have tackled their issues and seen the wins.

“It’s customer led, customer focused and all about customers sharing their knowledge, their stories and their experience…….and that is something that you just can’t replicate at any other event.”

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