How powerful technology can alleviate system-wide workforce challenges
To tackle the primary care staffing and workload challenges, annual funding is provided to each Integrated Care System to build flexible digital staff pools. This ongoing initiative is aimed to help provide support to:
- Systems: reducing pressure on spend and improving access to knowledgeable staff, deployable to wherever the need is greatest.
- Practices and PCNs: improving day-to-day operations to support service delivery and safe staffing levels.
- GPs & Primary Care Staff: increasing job security and access to flexible work options.
Almost two years since the £120,000 per ICS funding was announced, flexible pools are underway across the country. This provides an opportunity to reflect on the successes and where a different approach may achieve enhanced results. ICS leaders are rightly demanding one comprehensive solution which:
- reduces the administrative burden on practices and clinicians;
- facilitates the long-term retention of staff;
- does not unintentionally create a marketplace which leads to the cherry picking of the highest rate sessions, leading to disparities in care provision;
- reflects the increasing role and responsibilities of PCNs within an ICS; and
- caters for multiple staff types.
Having one digital platform which provides these solutions prevents the need to procure disparate systems and work with multiple providers.
When Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS were choosing a flexible pool solution, the GP-led organisation, My Locum Manager (MLM), was selected based on its unique approach to creating a sustainable GP workforce, and the ability to accommodate additional roles. MLM also has a locum membership already in every CCG across the country and is NHSE approved.
Following the successful implementation within the ICS, MLM joined the Agilio Software group, providing an exciting opportunity to integrate the platform with Agilio’s leading workforce, compliance, and knowledge management software, Agilio TeamNet.
TeamNet, which is utilised by over 67% of Primary Care in England, alleviates the increasing challenges faced in our industry through supporting staff pools, HR and workforce management, CQC compliance, knowledge management, and consolidation of back-office admin.
With Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS already using TeamNet across all member practices, TeamNet +MLM will enable the ICS to deliver its vision of a complete workforce solution.
“We have an innovative vision across our ICS to have a better way to manage the evolving challenges of workforce management, benefitting from TeamNet and My Locum Manager’s s single, seamless system.” Dr Manik Arora, GP Clinical Lead & Clinical Editor,
Nottingham & Nottinghamshire ICB.
As a digital solution in itself, MLM is a powerful tool which supports the development of flexible pools. However, the integration of MLM with TeamNet further supports organisations in addressing three fundamental challenges to provide system wide efficiency:
Challenge 1. Utilisation and engagement:
By drawing upon MLM’s interoperable staff bank technology, together with TeamNet’s existing HR and workforce modules such as rotas, staff availability, HR card (containing HR checks and key credentials), mandatory training and more, all the information to source, book and manage staff is in one place. This gives a seamless experience for faster and easier staff management and to engage with the flexible pool.
A single platform avoids multiple login details to remember and reduces the repetitive labour that comes with the on-boarding of staff. This increased efficiency helps to drive adoption and utilisation across practices and PCNs.
Challenge 2: Maintaining standards and driving efficiencies across the whole practice team:
For PCNs, there’s an increasing burden, not only to source staff in order to provide effective and safe patient care, including Extended Access, but to ensure CQC standards are upheld, manage the day-to-day operations and keep Partners, clinical and non-clinical staff, and patients happy. And with inflation pressures, energy costs spiralling, and warnings of practice closures, there has never been a greater need to find new ways of driving cost efficiencies and boost productivity.
With these challenges in mind, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS will leverage TeamNet +MLM’s ability to manage the HR and rotas for locum staff alongside permanent staff, including ARRS roles and FCPs.
Unlike traditional staff pools, TeamNet +MLM accommodates all healthcare professionals, not just locum GPs. This means permanent GPs, nurses, and admin staff can be rostered alongside self-employed locums – enabling practice managers to source, book and rota both employed and self-employed staff across the workforce, all from the same platform.
Also unique to TeamNet, is the ability for PCNs to schedule their ARRS workforce directly into the rotas of their member practices. This allows practices to manage all staff who work on their sites, regardless of employer, and access necessary HR credentials which can be securely shared through the system and be evidenced during CQC inspections.
As TeamNet’s rota technology integrates with the staff absences, working patterns, rooms, and resources, Practices have all the necessary data needed for effective workforce planning.
Compliance focussed modules and access for the whole team means that practices also benefit for CQC inspections, as everything that is required can be found in one place. The system has a robust governance structure that supports effortless passporting of staff across organisations.
Challenge 3: Attracting and retaining staff to increase capacity and service delivery:
For Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS, a key aim is to provide a digital bank that recruits and retains staff to build system-wide resilience. Traditional Chambers had failed to engage enough GPs and previous marketplace staff bank models had caused competition for rates, creating inequalities in shift filling across the area. With MLM, the system is able to standardise rates and leverage the existing MLM locum community across the ICS to support practices at pace, seeing a significant increase in the number of locum staff compared to the previous provider.
By offering a more efficient way for ICSs to build locum communities and enable them to work flexibly on one system, it has made it easier for practices to source cover with over 1,772 shifts being filled within Nottinghamshire in the last 6 months alone. This has resulted in better staff morale through peer support, easier access to mandatory training, clinical knowledge, and locum packs.
MLM also supports members of the pool with tools to alleviate the administrative burden and offers ongoing support with their development as professionals who have chosen a portfolio career which further aids retention.
TeamNet and My Locum Manager (MLM) can be procured individually or as combined offering. For more information on TeamNet’s complete workforce solution and MLM integration, visit our website or contact us here.