Health Service Focus

02.04.20

NHS SBS: A 21st Century NHS

Sean Hopkins, Head of Programmes and Technology for Employment Services, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS)

In a recent speech to the Health Tech Alliance, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, reiterated the role that all health professionals must play within the digital transformation of the NHS, stating that “every medical director and chief nurse needs to know how technology is going to transform what their teams do and lead that adoption”.

As NHS organisations consider what this means at a local level for their own workforces, it is important to note, I believe, that transformation does not always mean investing in and introducing brand new technologies.

In fact, nearly every NHS organisation in the country has an incredibly powerful system already in place. The Electronic Staff Record (ESR) has the potential to drive efficiency, enhance data security, improve productivity, and save money. But, as things stand, many NHS organisations are just about scratching the surface of its capabilities.

Unrealised potential

In 2008, the ESR was rolled out to NHS organisations across the country. At the time it was known as the ‘biggest programme of its kind in the world’. I was one of the original team employed by McKesson, the company which created the system, to lead this ambitious national rollout on the ground. Our team traversed the country to train users, migrate huge amounts of data from countless other HR and payroll platforms, and implement the system effectively.

READ MORE: First NHS trusts introduce NHS SBS’ The Edge4Health

Living and breathing ESR from the very beginning, we understood better than most how it had the potential to transform the NHS via one single, ‘end to end’ workforce planning tool.

Fast forward to 2020 and the frustrating reality is that, whilst ESR has the functionality to provide comprehensive HR systems, employee and manager ‘Self Service’, learning management and more, a significant proportion of NHS organisations are only using the payroll module. It means that many of the day-to-day benefits of ESR go unrealised across the NHS.

Successful streamlining

In an attempt to change this, the NHS SBS workforce consultancy team is partnering with NHS trusts to review their workforce roadmaps. Through this work, we are seeing time and again that multiple systems and processes are used for HR, workforce data, learning and development, and much more.

Systems that do not talk to each other. Systems that require data to be inputted multiple times. And systems that have often been procured at significant expense – despite the organisation already having access to what they need through ESR.

Today, a huge opportunity exists for forward-thinking NHS organisations to make a ‘leap of faith’ and bring in critical friends who understand the art of the possible and the streamlining potential of ESR.

One such tech-savvy NHS organisation is Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We have been working closely with the Trust on its ESR reporting requirements.

478 iStock-1124543330

Mark Brookes, the Trust’s Associate Director of People and Organisational Development had told us that: “It was taking significant resource each month to run reports and get them into the required formats for our board reporting packs”.

He added that this meant the workforce team was “running a multitude of separate reports every month and then consolidating the data into the required format”.

Working with the Trust, bespoke reports were created to consolidate the data into fewer reports thus saving a considerable amount of time and resource.

This resource was then used to support other workload priorities. Mark explained; “Thanks to these improvements, we were able to release resource to work alongside the NHS SBS project manager to successfully implement the ESR Manager Self Service functionality in October last year”.

A number of other NHS organisations are now following Doncaster and Bassetlaw’s example. Employee and Manager Self Service – or ESS and MSS for short – are key elements of ESR that can be far better utilised.

ESS enables NHS staff to update their own employee records, such as a change of name, in real-time. The reduced reliance on paper is a major benefit.  MSS, meanwhile, enables managers to access live workforce reports, easily update contracts, and monitor competencies and training requirements – all in one place.

In my experience, this vital information is commonly held on different NHS systems and is time-consuming to update – not the case if all the ESR modules are being used effectively. 

The future is now

When the Interim NHS People Plan was published last summer, it pointed to the fact there “are significant opportunities to help healthcare teams work more productively, releasing more time for care, helping provide fulfilling working lives and enabling every NHS pound to go further in improving access to – and quality of – care”.

And it could be argued that one of the most obvious and easiest to implement has been right under the nose of most NHS organisations for some time.

The Health Secretary’s Tech Vision for the NHS states that “we should be using the best off-the-shelf technology […] and not building bespoke solutions where they are not needed.” A sentiment that seems to define the missed ESR opportunity to date.

In the end, the overarching aim for us all is to enhance patient care. For every NHS organisation we help to get more from ESR, there is greater resource available for the frontline.

Making ESR work as it was designed to across the NHS would deliver huge workforce efficiencies for hospitals up and down the country. The technology already exists – it’s just a matter of turning it on.

This article originally featured in the March/April 2020 edition of NHE. Subscribe online today by clicking here!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Kindness is key to overcoming Covid-19 crisis

26/05/2020Kindness is key to overcoming Covid-19 crisis

Nuno Albuquerque, Group Treatment Lead, UK Addiction Treatment Group, explains why your mental health is just as important as washing your hands ... more >
UK study to examine Covid-19 impact on blood cancer patients

26/05/2020UK study to examine Covid-19 impact on blood cancer patients

A new UK study is being launched by IMPACT to examine how patients receiving stem cell transplants for blood cancers and blood disorders react to... more >
Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research pu... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research published in The BMJ. The study also found that, over eight years, the number of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes tripled. By 2025, it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes in the UK – 90% of which is Type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is related to increasing rates of obesi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >