New funding aims to speed up roll-out of NHS e-rostering

Government wants all NHS clinical staff on e-rostering by end of year

Tablet screen
18th January 2021 about a 6 minute read
“I’m excited to see how this technology can be implemented in the future, not just in hospitals and pharmacies, but in social care too.” Minister of State for Care Helen Whately

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced £7.5m is to be spent on speeding up the process of moving to digital scheduling of NHS shifts.

The investment is part of a £26m national fund to ensure all NHS doctors, nurses and other clinical staff are on e-rostering systems by the end of 2021.

E-rostering has been shown to be particularly effective during the pandemic, notably for vaccination centres. Users report it is easier to redeploy staff, digitally matching skillsets with patient care requirements and where people are.

NHS hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across 38 more trusts will be rolling out improved digital shift planning, 

E-rostering allows clinicians to select shifts digitally, providing the opportunity for more flexibility and more efficient work schedules. 

Matching skillsets

Specific skillsets can more easily be matched to the right shifts when redeploying staff using digital staff passports. The passports are currently being piloted and can save staff and HR teams time by providing a verified record of identity, employment and training on their smartphone.

These have been used during the COVID-19 response to redeploy staff quickly to support areas in need.

A 2018 study* showed one of the functions of e-rostering – caseload scheduling – could save each NHS clinician 34 minutes a week, which can add up to hundreds of hours per trust. 

By planning routes between healthcare settings or to patients’ homes for home visits, clinical resource can be geographically matched so NHS staff can spend less time travelling and more time with patients.

Minister of State for Care Helen Whately said:

“E-rostering is a crucial tool to make the most of our dedicated healthcare professionals’ time for looking after patients – something which is needed more than ever during this pandemic.

“Managing shifts more effectively also makes it easier to work flexibly, giving our hardworking clinicians a better work/life balance.

“I’m excited to see how this technology can be implemented in the future, not just in hospitals and pharmacies, but in social care too – making sure everyone gets the right care at the right time.”

Reducing reliance on agencies

The technology can also cut costs for the NHS by reducing the reliance on staffing agencies.

Five NHS trusts will be using the software to also schedule patient appointments.

The £26 million national rollout to 68 trusts in total is part of the NHS Long Term Plan ambition to equip all shifts for doctors, nurses, Allied Health Professionals, health scientists and pharmacists with e-rostering systems by the end of 2021.

Four NHS trusts which received funding earlier in the rollout have created the North West London Collaborative Staff Bank, a shared pool of available clinicians who can fill shift vacancies to match surges in demand from the pandemic and wider winter pressures.

This is part of a wider strategy by NHS England and Improvement and NHSX to build a “collaborative and flexible workforce” through the use of technology.


*A May 2018 Newton Europe Consultancy review of community services found that route planning and geographic matching of clinical resource and demand could save travel time by 20% and 30% respectively.

The use of scheduling solutions could, assuming a conservative estimate of 10% lower travel time, save 34 minutes per clinician per week, allowing them to see more patients.

NHS organisations receiving funding include:

Cambridgeshire Community Services e-Rostering and e-Scheduling Implementation Nurses and AHPs – East of England (Community) £74,000

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Medic Rostering Doctors  – East of England (Acute) £290,000

James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Norfolk and Waveney Collaborative Bank Multi-professional – East of England (Acute) £520,000

James Paget University NHS Foundation Trust Community e-Rostering Project – includes interface with patient information system Multi-professional – East of England (Community) (See above)

Sutton Health and Care (SHC) and Surrey Downs Health and Care (SDHC)– hosted by Epsom and St Helier Trust E-Allocate – SHC and SDHC (ESHT) Multi-professional – London (Community) £36,000

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Medical e-Rostering Project Doctors – London (Acute) £336,000

University College London Hospital e-Rostering System Doctors – London (Acute) £203,000

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust Medical Rostering Improvement Doctors – London (Mental health) £62,000

East London NHS Foundation Trust Medics Rostering Doctors – London (Mental health) £190,000

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust AHP job planning and rostering AHPs – London (Acute) £218,000

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust e-roster for AHPs and medics AHPs and doctors – Midlands (Acute) £154,000

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust Competency-based rostering Doctors – Midlands (Acute) £127,000

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust e-Rostering Doctors – Midlands (Acute) £386,000

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust Rostering and job-planning for community staff Multi-professional – Midlands (Community) £111,000

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Community Workforce Deployment System Project Multi-professional Midlands Specialist £237,000

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust AHP and Pharmacy AHPs and pharmacists – Midlands (Acute) £491,000

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust e-Rostering System Project – North Cumbria Inpatient Wards and Trust Wide Community Services Multi-professional – North East and Yorkshire (Mental health) £417,000

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Medical Workforce e-Rostering Project Doctors – North East and Yorkshire (Acute) £140,000

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Medical e-Rostering Project Doctors – North East and Yorkshire (Acute) £258,000

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust Integrated Scheduling System Multi-professional – North East and Yorkshire (Acute) £200,000

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust Improving Workforce Deployment Project (IWDP) Nurses – North West (Specialist) £280,000

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust Looking Beyond the Roster Care Needs First – Mersey Care and North West Boroughs Nurses and AHPs – North West (Community) £300,000

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust Community Workforce Deployment System Nurses and AHPs – North West (Acute) £618,000

Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Medical e-Rostering Doctors – North West (Acute) £133,000

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust e-Rostering and e-Job Planning for Medical Workforce Doctors – North West (Specialist) £97,000

Lancashire teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Collaborative AHP Staff Bank AHPs – North West (Acute) £505,000

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust e-Rostering Project for Clinical Professionals AHPs, pharmacists and HCS (non-medical) – North West (Acute) £367,000

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust e-rostering Multi-professional – North West (Mental health) £116,000

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Clinical e-Rostering Doctors – South East (Acute) £118,000

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust Medical e-Rostering Solution Doctors – South East (Acute) £285,000

Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Workforce Deployment System Project Doctors – South East (Acute) £220,000

Total £7,489,000