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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust cuts costs and frees up more time to care

SMART, a leading supplier of workforce management solutions to the NHS has been selected by Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to provide e-Rostering and Bank management systems to reduce the nursing budget without cutting patient services.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust now has 1600 nursing staff using SMART’s e-rostering solution, which is approximately 82% of all nursing staff. Over half are working on rosters with a live link to ESR payroll. The new system has already allowed the Trust to reduce its ‘head room’ contingency from 24% to 23% a saving of 1% which across the entire nursing budget represents a significant sum. The “head room” contingency is the extra staff needed above establishment requirements to ensure there is cover for holidays, sickness and other absence.

Implementation of the Bank management system for Emergency Nurse Practitioners has also reduced bank usage by 53% without increasing the need for management resources. This demonstrates the efficiencies the Trust expects to see when the implementation of the SMART solution is completed at the end of the financial year.

Liza Wolvey, project manager for the e-Rostering rollout at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust explained, “It isn’t just about saving money, the Trust wants to improve the quality of care provided to patients and the quality of working conditions for staff. The aim is to implement safe and effective rosters that will improve working conditions and provide a clear record of who was working at any given time, while ensuring that there is always the correct skill mix on wards to ensure patient safety and quality of care.” SMART’s solution was selected, following a vigorous tender process, as the best solution to help the Trust rationalise bank and agency expenditure.

The Trust now has 9 medical rosters for doctors monitoring absence, number of nights worked and on-call, annual and study leave, number of weekends worked and sickness. The Trust is planning to roll out erostering to everyone employed by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to gain a trust-wide picture of absence.

SMART’s bi-directional interface, allows the synchronisation of employee, absence and payroll information between ESR and payroll capturing all data on hours worked and applicable rates of pay. The improved accuracy using the ESR link is at 95% compared to less than 50% when manual timesheets were in use. Liza Wolvey continued, “Providing advance notice of rosters, and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust cuts costs and frees up more time to care thanks to workforce management solutions from SMART 28 February 2011 making them more flexible has been proven to reduce absence. Ensuring staff get paid correctly and promptly for hours worked has had a positive impact on motivation which is a tremendous benefit to the Trust as a whole.”

Tristan Spencer, Health Market Director at SMART said, “While some of the benefits and cost savings of implementing integrated workforce solutions such as e-rostering and Bank management are more long term, quick wins are still very achievable. Analysis by SMART’s Workforce Efficiency Assessment team shows that on average trusts are likely to save £35,000 per ward which equates to £1200 per employee per year. Potential savings are even greater when e-Rostering is integrated with the Bank system as they are currently doing at Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells. Implementing these systems can help trusts to meet their cost saving targets without impacting front line services.”

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