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Major NHS employer in the North East improves work/life balance for 2,000 staff and achieves savings of £283,000.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust (GHNFT), a major employer and health services provider in the North East, is using SMART, provider of solutions for workforce management, for its staff e-rostering and time and attendance solutions. To date, the Trust has rolled out the Time and Attendance (T&A) solution to around 2,000 clinical and non-clinical staff. The e-Rostering solution, integrated with T&A, has gone live across 20 wards and is expected to be fully deployed by August 2012. Upon completion of the project, SMART solutions will support the Trust’s 3,500-strong workforce. Through its implementation the Trust has already achieved considerable cost and time savings through more accurate payroll, less administration and reduced use of bank staff through improved roster management.

Although the project is not yet fully complete, it has already delivered benefits, Pam Oliver, Assistant Director of Finance at GHNFT commented; “We have already identified cost savings of £283,000 which has assisted the Trust to meet the Cost Reduction Programme in 2010/2011. Given the current status of the project it is expected to deliver the originally identified savings of £1.1 million by March 2013 and we believe it will help achieve further cost savings.”

Before SMART, GHNFT relied on paper-based processes to record staff time and administer shifts. This approach was labour intensive, duplicated effort and lacked an audit trail. It soon became clear that an electronic solution was required to, maintain and improve standards of patient care by ensuring the correct mix of experienced and skilled staff were on duty, assist staff to manage their work/life balance, as well as reducing costs.

Pam Oliver explains; “One of the major drivers for moving to SMART was to replace the antiquated timesheet system which does not fit into the recommended payroll practices for the operation of Electronic Staff Record (ESR). The use of SMART allows us to provide a more accurate payroll service and has already generated significant savings. It helps supervisors to plan ahead, deploy their resources more effectively, better support their staff and comply with legislation such as the European Work Time Directive. This boosts employee morale – a win, win situation all round.”

The T&A system records staff working hours accurately and streamlines the management of holidays and other absences. Using the SMART e-rostering system staff are able to view their own hours worked, their holiday entitlement balance and can also request shift patterns and alterations online.

Clare Jones, Project Manager at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust commented; “One of the factors that we liked about SMART was its ability to provide systems that accommodate the different staff contracts that we have across the Trust, including fixed shifts, roster and flexi shifts. We now have much improved visibility of practices used across the Trust in departments and wards so that we have been able to standardise shift patterns in some areas to meet the demands of patient services, legislation and work/life balance. We have been able to streamline our payroll processes – removing manual timesheets and paperwork - that we estimate saves each employee over an hour every month. In addition, through improved management we are reducing our use of bank staff and we have the opportunity to increase staff morale through more equitable and visible rostering.

Automation has dramatically reduced administration time and increased productivity across the Trust. For example, in the critical care ward, the workforce management process now takes just one day rather than one week and ward managers are able to create 6-week rosters at one go compared with a maximum of a 4-week roster before the introduction of SMART.

Despite the initial cultural change required to adopt the new automated solution, GHNFT has recently noticed greater acceptance among users as they begin to see the benefits of the system. Many appreciate the positive aspects of SMART such as its transparency and fairness. For example, the A&E department has praised the abilities of SMART to manage its complex and high number of shift patterns and its potential for providing valuable information to justify staffing changes for off-duty periods.

GHNFT is particularly impressed by the cost reductions achieved since using SMART. The Trust is able to fill its most expensive shifts (weekends and nights) first with its own employees, and use bank staff for cheaper shifts weekday shifts. This revolutionary approach is appreciated by the Trust, because like the rest of the public sector, the organisation is looking to be as efficient as possible and achieve cost savings.

Tristan Spencer, Health Market Director at SMART, concluded: “Large NHS Trusts constantly need to balance the costs of deployment of staff to provide the required patient services, compliance with working time legislation and ensure that work life balance is maintained for employee well being and staff retention. Using SMART’s solutions enables NHS Trusts to manage working hours accurately, fairly and transparently. They help managers to deliver effective staff rosters that also provide cost savings and improve staff morale as a result.”

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust provides a full range of local acute services for elective (planned) and emergency care including in-patient, out-patient, day case and day care. In addition, it provides sub-regional Breast Screening Services – covering Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and parts of Durham – and is the North Eastern hub for the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. This covers an area East of the Pennines stretching from the Scottish border to Humber, a population of around 7 million people.
During 2007/08 the Trust employed 3,072 people and is a major employer in Gateshead, a key factor in the local economy.
For more information please visit: www.gatesheadhealth.nhs.uk

About SMART

Established in 1986, SMART is a leading provider of solutions for workforce management aimed at helping companies to maximise the performance, productivity and value of their people. By implementing SMART’s technology, organisations can expect to achieve a sustainable reduction in their people costs of up to 10%.

SMART’s web-based workforce management solutions manage complex shifts and annualised hours to ensure adequate staffing to meet fluctuating demands, which results in reduced absenteeism and recruitment costs, an end to spiralling overtime and an improvement in productivity. Importantly, the software helps to improve employee relationships through the use of powerful self-service and the ability to implement flexible working patterns.

SMART in Healthcare

SMART/HMT deliver fully integrated workforce management solutions for all nursing, medical, administrative and support services in the NHS to help achieve improved efficiencies and significant reductions in the costs of temporary staffing and overall people costs.

As a combined force, SMART and HMT provide comprehensive workforce management solutions to a significant proportion of the UK Healthcare market. HMT pioneered the first rostering systems for the NHS in 1997 and recently launched its flagship product RosterPro Central, which has been developed using the very latest technology. In 2001, the eHL solution from SMART was selected as best of breed provider of e-rostering and time and attendance for the National ESR programme and has unique, proven and fully automated integration with ESR.

Over 600 organisations worldwide benefit from SMART’s and HMT’s solutions and services in both the private and public sectors. Customers include Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Ocado, Gist, Habitat, Jaguar, JCB, Mandarin Oriental, Sainsbury's, Swissport, Trailfinders, Tussauds Group, and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.

For more information, please visit www.smart-workforce.com.

For information relating specifically to the NHS sector, please visit: www.smart-rostering.co.uk

For press enquiries, please contact:

Paski Matarazzo, Marketing Manager, SMART
Telephone: 01438 822229
Email: paskim@smart-workforce.com

Andreina West, PR Artistry
Telephone: 01491 639500
Email: andreina@pra-ltd.co.uk

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