Health Service Focus

15.10.19

Understanding pay and improving workforce efficiency

Source: NHE: Sep/Oct 19

Lee Edwards, IT director at NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS), describes how the MySBSPay app has made it easier for NHS employees to view and understand their pay and help them work more efficiently.

With NHS SBS providing a payroll service to around 90 different NHS organisations, we are uniquely placed to design, develop and deliver new digital innovations which can be rolled out widely across the NHS workforce. 

And in 2018 that’s exactly what we set out to do. Feedback from NHS staff made it clear they wanted easier access to their pay information – as opposed to just receiving a paper or PDF payslip every month. 

So for those NHS employees paid via NHS SBS – around 400,000 of them – we began building an app to provide secure, round-the-clock access to payslips, P60s and other pay-related information. With new functionality released every month, it would include a detailed breakdown of pay and deductions, FAQs and chat features to help employees better understand their pay.

Our in-house developers worked closely with staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to design the app and test its functionality, ensuring it would meet the needs of the modern NHS professional. In August last year, MySBSPay was launched on Google Play and the Apple App Store. 

Fast forward 12 months and our app has been downloaded almost 60,000 times and today includes unique discounts to help NHS employees make the most of their money. We have also extended availability of the app to all 1.4 millon NHS staff, who can now download it to take advantage of the discount offers.

The impact on NHS workforce productivity has surpassed all expectations. With our payroll service desk dealing with thousands of calls every month from NHS employees with common queries, such as tax enquiries and pay day information requests, our aim was to use technology to answer such questions in a more convenient and efficient way. 

By delivering pay information via an interactive and increasingly sophisticated app we have been able to pre-empt many queries. 

The result is NHS employees have less need to phone us – with the answer often now available at the click of a button. It means extra time for more valuable activity like patient care and less time spent on admin outside of work. 

When comparing the number of service desk calls at the time MySBSPay launched last year, to the more recent monthly average, we have seen an overall reduction of around 30%.

 Based on the average six minutes it takes to resolve each query, this equates to a combined saving of around 380 hours every month for NHS staff around the country – the equivalent of 54 working days. 

And some of the trusts that have the biggest employee uptake of MySBSPay have also benefitted from the largest workforce efficiency savings. 

At Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, more than one in four employees are now using the app and the average number of monthly queries has reduced by 21% - saving more than 10 hours of staff time every month. 

Stephen Aynsley-Smith, the trust’s deputy director of finance, described MySBSPay as “innovative yet simple to use” and that it was “minimising the need for pay-related queries and clarifications.” 

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust has seen nearly 11 hours of employee time saved per month. Its director of finance, Jazz Thind, said: “[MySBSPay] is helping to free up valuable employee time and allowing resources to be directed to where they add most value, such as the delivery of the highest standards of patient care.” 

The success of MySBSPay illustrates how the development of innovative technology must continue if the NHS workforce is to have the tools it needs to be more effective. 

The NHS Long Term Plan talks about removing wasted time and irritating tasks so staff are able to focus on patient care. And this is where new digital technologies can have the biggest impact – freeing up NHS employees to concentrate more of their time where it makes the biggest difference to patients.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Tw: @NHS_SBS

W: www.sbs.nhs.uk

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