Effective e-rostering in action: Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

To make tangible improvements to workforce management in the NHS and solve the current staffing crisis, getting e-rostering right is crucial. With an effective solution in place, organisations can more confidently deploy staff in line with service demand, and clinicians are empowered to manage their schedules more flexibly.

But what does this look like in practice?

Below, we share the story of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, where a purpose-built rostering platform has been deployed to improve rota management, reduce temporary staffing spend and boost job satisfaction across the trust’s medical workforce.

Previous workforce management challenges

Trust leaders, rota managers and clinicians sought an e-rostering solution that would unlock transparent, flexible rota planning for the organisation’s medical workforce – improving staff wellbeing and reducing the use of agency staff.

The solution would need to prevent instances of shifts being double-booked and rosters being published without sufficient notice. As a result, staff experience would improve, and the organisation’s previous reliance on temporary staffing could be minimised – ultimately contributing to high-quality medical service delivery.

Catalyst for change

To kick start the procurement of a new NHS e-rostering solution, the trust undertook a comprehensive evaluation process to ensure the selected system fulfilled all organisational and individual requirements, involving meetings with several potential providers. During this process, Patchwork Health was selected as the best fit, offering an end-to-end workforce solution that includes a purpose-built e-rostering platform.

The solution was selected as it aligned with the preferences and requirements expressed by not only the trust’s rostering teams, but also their medical workforce. The key aims were to establish an e-rostering system that was:

1. User-friendly for both rostering teams and the medical workforce
2. Compliant with regulations to meet staff and patient safety standards
3. Capable of providing key data insights to inform decision-making

To meet these aims, the trust sought an app-based solution for junior doctors, allowing them to conveniently check their roster, book leave, and more easily plan their schedules.

In a significant milestone, the trust, impressed with Patchwork’s solution, entrusted them with delivering the rota system for the August rotation of junior doctors. This required going live within three weeks to provide the necessary six weeks’ notice for upcoming shift patterns.

Realising positive outcomes

Patchwork’s e-rostering solution went live in May 2023, and quickly delivered on the trust’s key objectives in advance of August rotation.

Collaboration is at the heart of the trust’s partnership with Patchwork, which has helped to increase internal capacity across the organisation’s workforce and medical teams. Rostering teams are empowered to safely and efficiently create, populate and manage rosters, and junior doctors can view their rotas in one place. Communication has been crucial to achieving this, ensuring that pertinent information about the new rostering platform reaches all users – driving adoption and engagement with the system across the entire medical division.

Chief Operating Officer, Sean Briggs, emphasises the positive impact of the solution, stating:

“Junior doctors, who were rightfully frustrated, now express greater satisfaction with the new rostering system. We are already witnessing a substantial reduction in agency spend and improved coverage in critical clinical areas. The Patchwork team has consistently engaged with our staff to ensure a smooth transition.”

The tangible improvements to roster management, enhanced staff satisfaction, and a notable reduction in agency reliance within the medical division have all resulted in the trust initiating a process to expand the solution to other departments. To reap the benefits of Patchwork’s end-to-end workforce management offering, Patchwork Bank has also been launched trust-wide, further streamlining workforce management processes on the temporary staffing side.

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