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29
Jan

Staff shortages, absenteeism and last-minute roster changes are top challenges for healthcare providers


Staff shortages are cited as the top challenge for healthcare providers in a new survey undertaken by Softworks. Over 82% of respondents agreed that they are consistently struggling with a shortage of staff available to fill rosters. This was followed by absenteeism and last-minute roster changes (76%).

National Health Executive’s 94,000 subscribers were invited by email to take part in the survey on Healthcare Resourcing & Rostering Challenges and how Technology could assist. Among the other notable results, were challenges around balancing leave requests with care needs (75%) and dealing with peaks in care levels and finding cover (74%). 

Over two thirds of respondents found determining availability for additional shifts (69%), employee satisfaction with shifts and rosters (67%) and finding people to cover shifts from bank or agency staff at the right cost (67%) very challenging. 

Other challenges highlighted were too much time spent building and generating staff rosters (65%), documenting skill levels & skill matching (65%), ensuring legislative compliance (64%), fair and equal shift distribution (62%) and the flexibility to change rosters according to patient care needs (60%). 

 

According to Andrew Ferguson, CEO of Softworks, technology can help. “While technology cannot provide extra resources, it can assist with more efficiently managing the resources that you already have.” 

The survey also investigated how current and future technologies could be designed and developed in order to improve operational processes. Respondents were asked if they currently had an automated rostering/eRostering System, what they liked and disliked about their system and if they had a magic wand what they would add to their system. 39% of survey respondents currently have a rostering system in place while 61% had no system. 

There were definitely mixed results in this section with some respondents happier than others with their current systems. Approximately one third of all respondents who had a system (34%) agreed with the statement that their rostering system is very easy to use and just under a quarter (24%) felt that their system was meeting all of their requirements, so there is definitely room for improvement. 


“This is a great opportunity for technology providers to align themselves more closely with healthcare organisations to develop features and functions that meet all of their workforce management requirements,” concludes Andrew Ferguson. 

The full survey findings and analysis paper (pdf) may be downloaded here.

 

The NHS Long Term Plan has been widely criticised for failing to set out exactly how the growing problem of staff shortages will be addressed. 

Just this week, UNISON has warned that staff shortages are now posing a threat to patient safety and care. Read our story here.

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