Could better scheduling revolutionise the NHS?

by | 13.12.2017

Barely a week seems to pass without the press proclaiming the NHS is in crisis. 2018 will mark 70 years since the NHS was created and it’s hard to think of a time where the service faced greater challenges.

 
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First off, we have an ageing population. There are more than a million people over the age of 65 than there were 5 years ago, a figure that will only grow. This means there’s a much greater demand for medical care from the over 65s.

Secondly, there have been budget cuts to social care. While the NHS budget itself is protected, the cuts in social care shift the pressure back on to the health service, filling up hospitals with patients who could be helped by social services.

Thirdly, the UK tops the charts in Europe when it comes to the number of people defined as obese. According to the NHS, this obesity crisis is creating an increase of people with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and colon cancer, all putting more strain on an already stretched service.

The fourth and final factor is staff shortages. While the number of doctors and nurses have risen, they haven’t kept pace with the growing patient demand, meaning healthcare professionals constantly find themselves going ‘above and beyond’ but also reporting higher cases of ‘burn out.’

Bob Kerslake, chair of one of the largest NHS Trusts, announced his resignation on December 10th, in this Guardian article, citing the need for a fundamental rethink on how the NHS operates and calling on the Government to give the NHS funding that matches the rise in demand for its services, and the increase in the cost of drugs and other medical supplies.

Whatever way we look at it, the NHS is facing pressure on all sides. The good news is there’s a growing groundswell of support, from both the government and healthcare professionals, to find ways of improving the NHS through better efficiency and productivity.

The idea of business optimisation is now being applied to healthcare, starting with the Carter Review from 2016 which focussed on operational productivity and performance in NHS hospitals.

Key findings from the review found that:

  • Poor planning costs the NHS £2 billion each year.
  • Improving staff productivity by five minutes in every shift could save £280 million a year.
  • A 1% improvement in sickness absence could also save £280 million in staff costs each year.

Coupled with this is the October 2017 report, from watchdog NHS Improvement, which found that 280,000 more non-emergency operations could be carried out each year if schedules were better organised.

What’s clear is systems like Quinyx, built to empower employees and optimise organisations, can have a significant impact in improving productivity and efficiency in healthcare.

Just as the demands facing the NHS have changed, so have the demands of the workforce. This Workforce Revolution, is powered by mobile technology, big data and Millennials in the workplace, and, by embracing it, healthcare organisations can achieve the twin aims of, delivering a better quality of care, while improving employee engagement and morale.

From creating automated and optimised schedules to providing a hugely effective communication system, workforce management solutions like Quinyx have the ability to lead a new era of productivity in the NHS.

By solving the headaches that come with scheduling, time management, and communication with a mobile-first solution, Quinyx is enabling healthcare providers to spend less time on labour-intensive admin and more time on delivering the best standard of care to their end users.

This includes:

  • Staying lean and efficient by delivering the maximum amount of care at the lowest cost possible.
  • Improving user engagement, especially with GPs and nurses, in the scheduling process as well as reducing the time it takes to create schedules.
  • Making the rota management process more flexible and efficient, saving time, energy and money.

Join us for a free webinar on January 11 to find out more and see how better workforce management can change the shape of healthcare.

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Tommy Tonkins

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