Workforce management solution pays dividends at Harrogate trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust saves cash and improves rostering following deployment

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has saved around £7,000 on a single ward, reduced staffing spend and improved rostering following the introduction of a workforce management solution.

Already a provider of hospital services to Harrogate and north Leeds, in 2011 the trust took on responsibility for a wide range of community-based services covering Harrogate and the wider North Yorkshire area.

The introduction of the SMART Workforce Management solution from Kronos has helped to manage staff rosters and improve efficiencies of recording and managing staff time, as well as administering shifts.

The move means that rosters now meet flexible working requirements while providing the correct skill mix for optimum patient care, as well as cutting down on staff sickness and bank cover and improving holiday records.

Comparisons of one ward following the deployment showed a reduction in overspend of £7,424 to £476 in a single month. The solution has also led to a reduction of two full-time staff, who are no longer needed to process payroll, and increased roster fill rates for a single medical ward improved from 90% to 96.43% in one year.

The system has been rolled out across all trust departments, both clinical and non-clinical, for 136 rosters covering 2,500 staff. It is also being introduced across the 1,000 community services staff.

Liz Pugh, HR manager at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Prior to implementing the SMART solution, the trust used a variety of legacy systems to produce and manage staff rosters, including an incumbent electronic system, Excel spreadsheets, paper rosters and timesheets. We wanted to reduce the time spent by managers on non-clinical commitments, store rostering data centrally, provide visibility of staff shortfalls, and redeploy staff between departments to reduce agency costs.”

The trust also wanted to automate payroll processes to reduce errors and support working legislation, particularly for the community services. Lone workers are based across large geographical areas and timesheets needed to be signed off by managers in different locations, often creating a delay in processing pay as well as resolving queries and errors.

Following the installation, all information regarding shifts worked, sickness episodes, enhancements or overtime shifts is now electronically loaded into the payroll system at the end of each month, reducing both errors and saving time.

Pugh said: “For the managers working in community services, it has meant they have an immediate overview of staff hours worked, sickness cover and leave and the automated time sheets provide a better picture of the service delivery for the matrons overseeing teams across as many as 12 different areas, without having to contact each individual manager.

Staff have embraced the new system. Many of them are used to adopting new technologies, often relying on them when working remotely and have quickly appreciated the benefits of having timesheets approved without relying on the post, as well as more accurate payslips.”

“As well as the benefits we have realised trustwide, our managers have really seen the benefits with improved information that they can easily access, including sickness and holiday data. It’s easy to use and gives us a one-stop-shop for information.”

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