First fully interoperable solution for all staff groups – Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


System integration
Patchwork has enabled downstream integration between the staff bank platform and +Us Contingent Workforce Management platform – the first interoperable solution of its kind nationally

85% average
shift fill rate across MWL’s medical workforce in the first 3 months

4 week implementation
Within four weeks of initial consultation, Patchwork successfully implemented a complete end-to end staff bank solution for medics

Agenda for Change workers were onboarded to the staff bank in just four weeks

Increased digitisation
System automation provides 24/7 assurance of bank medics service regardless of when a bank shift is approved

The Challenge

Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (MWL) (formerly St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) had a vision for their temporary workforce – the ability to fill vacant shifts across their organisation with a solution that enabled workers to pick up shifts quickly, safely and easily, whilst ensuring the most efficient and effective system was in place to satisfy financial and governance requirements.

The trust faced significant challenges when it came to running their own internal staff bank alongside the frameworks of Agenda for Change agencies and a Direct Engagement provider. The trust utilised multiple systems which required manual intervention in order to source workers from various supply streams and fill gaps in rosters. The transfer of data between systems was a manual and complex process, resulting in large periods of time being spent on administrative tasks, and a reliance on the availability of HR staff to proactively keep systems running. This also created risks associated with human error and manual data entry.

MWL therefore identified a need for an end-to-end workforce management system, in order to improve the trust’s temporary workforce shift fill rates and source clinicians in an effective and timely manner. They required full integration between suppliers to ensure complete visibility over all workers and robust financial and governance oversight.

The Solution

Working in partnership with Patchwork, a project plan was put in place that would initially see a roll out for medics, closely followed by development work to open the system up to all staff groups across the trust. This would incorporate digital sign off for escalated pay rates, alongside end-to-end technology driven processes. The system was implemented and operational within 4 weeks, enabling bank workers to safely and flexibly self-book onto vacant shifts in line with their personal schedules, resulting in 85% shift fill rates within the first 3 months.

Following the successful implementation for medical staff, the Patchwork team worked with STHK to adapt the system for the Agenda for Change staff groups. In February 2021, the Patchwork system went live across the entire Trust, enabling all approved temporary workers to instantly book shifts and cover staffing gaps across all departments. Critically, Patchwork’s end-to-end workforce management system is fully interoperable across all staff groups, the first of its kind nationally. This has ensured compliant and safe staffing with no duplicate data entry, as shifts now transfer seamlessly between MWL’s e-roster system, the trust’s local bank, the regional doctors in training collaborative staff bank and the +Us Contingent Workforce Management platform. This highly resilient layer of integration not only drastically reduces administration by automating tasks, but it also minimises errors and is backed by a single source for all data reporting, all to ensure robust governance and financial efficiency.

Patchwork’s ongoing collaboration with MWL strives to continue the optimisation of integrated systems and processes which enables teams to focus on maximising the delivery of high quality, safe and effective patient care.

From the very beginning both Patchwork and +Us have been highly receptive to the idea of a complete end-to-end interoperable system and all the teams have worked incredibly hard to deliver the vision that we set out. This is paying dividends with the removal of double data entry and we aren’t stopping there! Both Patchwork and +Us are committed to refining the system to deliver efficiencies at every stage and it is exciting to see the outcomes of the ongoing work which is fully aligned to the NHS’s interoperability goals.

Laura Codling, Head of Strategic Resourcing Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

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