Monday, 11 May 2015

247 Health Care

Before the election David Cameron pledged that we would have full access to the health service seven days a week by 2020. SO with the Conservative party winning we can look forward to a better and more effective health service. Which is excellent news for the country. In 2014 absence cost the UK over £31 billion (PWC). That’s about 2% of our GDP. So if the health service is able to treat people faster and more effectively because it will be operating 24/7 instead of office hours, we should not only be healthier, but also absent less often or for shorter periods.
This is a great opportunity for the NHS to create and use better staffing schedules. This will not only save the tax payer billions through a reduction in agency workers but could also mean better work/life balance for our health care professionals.

So what are the key components in an efficient, low cost, shift schedule for the health service which also gives the shift workers a good work/life balance?

  1. Understand the workload. The workload is key whenever you are creating a shift operation. Your employees are there to cover the work. So you only want them there when there is work for them to do and you want them in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills.
  2. Employ the correct number of staff. There is no point in employing too few. In the long run that just leads to high overtime and agency costs. The Mirror reported that the NHS spent £5.5 billion on agency workers. Now you can’t save your entire overtime and agency budget but if you employee people at basic rate it will normally be a lot cheaper.
  3. What type of service do you need to provide. A key factor in health service operations is continuity of care. So you always need someone each day who was there the day before and will be there tomorrow. That way if there were any developments, each day there would be someone who could pass on the pertinent information to colleagues.
  4. shift pattern for a good work/life balance. So you need to think about fatigue, time off, commutes, length of shifts, etc.
  5. Absence costs money. A lot of money. So you need a way of covering for absence, be that holidays, sickness or authorised leave. The best way to cover absence is in-house, because your own staff will always know your operation, equipment and staff better than an outsider. Also it is normally cheaper.
If you would like to know more about creating an efficient, low cost shift operation which ensures a good work/life balance for your staff, then contact us directly to find out more.

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