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Self-rostering can improve work-life balance and staff retention in the NHS

Renee Barrett - Author Annie Holme - Author First published: Last updated:

The move from the traditional paper roster and implementation of an electronic roster, known as e-rostering or ESR across the NHS, has helped nursing managers to produce more effective rosters that incorporate the flexible working requests of staff, while meeting organisational needs (Drake, 2014a; Shepherd, 2006).

The Carter review (NHS Confederation, 2016) into productivity and efficiency in NHS hospitals revealed ‘significant unwarranted variation across all of the main resources areas’, including staffing. The review advocated for, among other things, the implementation of technology such as ESR to reduce absences and save trusts millions of pounds annually. A report from the London School of Economics (Hockley and Boyle, 2014) also called for more widespread use of ESR to save money and improve patient care.

The new software can be programmed with ‘rules’, such as:

  • Minimum staffing requirements on a given shift
  • Staff skill mix requirements
  • Ensuring optimal shift patterns, for example

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Renee Barrett

Annie Holme

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