Staff banks, ics

06 May 2021

Serving nearly 3 million patients with one connected Primary Care workforce bank


Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (Greater Manchester) is a devolved body representing and managing the health and wellbeing budget for the 2.8 million people who live across its 10 CCGs. Like many systems, Greater Manchester was juggling a number of challenges:

  • Getting workforce visibility
    Each of the hundreds of practices and services within Greater Manchester had its own staff relationships. However, across the system, there was no visibility of other local staff. This was challenging for system-level leadership, but also made life difficult for practice groups and hub services trying to plan and build their schedules.

  • Managing complicated schedules
    The complexity of scheduling meant that the manual processes in use (e.g. Excel spreadsheets) were not fit for purpose. This problem was exacerbated further by the advent of COVID-19 - new sites and new staff types increased staffing complexity, while new regulations and requirements reduced the time available to manage it.

  • Finding additional staff
    Finding locum staff was often time-consuming, unpredictable and stressful, requiring a lot of last-minute fumbling across a host of different media. Where staff couldn’t be found through existing relationships, many had no choice but to go to recruitment agencies, whose high fees constituted a large budget item for many Greater Manchester health services.
The answer: connecting the workforce, system-wide

To solve or alleviate these problems, Greater Manchester aimed to create a single shared primary care workforce bank, connecting all GPs with all practices and service providers in the area.

Considering many of these CCGs were less than half an hour’s drive apart, they were geographically able to benefit from sharing their staff. And by creating a pool of staff that were available to work, under-utilised members of the workforce could be identified and redirected to places under greater strain, to ensure a closer fit of patient demand with workforce supply. These users would be able to easily find work across all 10 CCGs, ensuring that organisational boundaries didn’t get in the way of local staff helping patients.

What they needed next was a technology platform through which they could enable an intelligent, collaborative digital workforce bank. In Salford and Trafford CCGs, all Extended Access services and GP practices in Salford and Trafford had been using Lantum successfully for over 2 years. Lantum’s strong track record within the area, combined with its ease of use, made it the best option.

“When Greater Manchester were looking for a partner, Lantum were really the only provider offering a primary care platform. Providers can manage their relationships with the bank, and the bank can manage their relationship with the provider. It’s a simple process.”

Kerry Porter, Primary Care Workforce Programme Manager, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership

Making it happen
    Implementation began by uniting in the workforce bank all GPs who had already created a profile on Lantum; Greater Manchester also worked with the National Performers list to invite other GPs in the area to join. Next, all existing Lantum practices were informed of their new access to the shared workforce bank and its benefits.

    This required close-knit partnership, not only between Lantum and Greater Manchester, but also between all 10 CCGs in the area, each represented by their own workforce lead, who was consulted on decisions and best ways to roll out locally.

    Subsequent roll-out was conducted according to need. Greater Manchester’s sitrep tool categorised workforce capacity by a traffic light system; practices flagged as red or amber were contacted directly to set them up with immediate access to the bank. As the project was launched in April, those who were responding to COVID-19 and needed additional workforce to scale up COVID hubs were also contacted.

    Next, practices at risk of future disruption were targeted, such as those that showed 100% capacity on the sitrep tool, but only had one working GP, which would leave them in need of extra staff in the case of illness or annual leave.

    Lastly, remaining practices were contacted to ensure they could access the bank before they needed it. This way, the bank could act as a level of coverage that is quicker, easier and cheaper to use than agencies.

    Once onboarded, providers could create sessions in a calendar, then assign them to their preferred staff members. Where there were gaps, they could then publish the session to the workforce bank, either wholesale, or to a specified ‘Priority Access’ group of staff, who could apply to available sessions first.

    Staff within the bank were notified of new work available for them, either through the Lantum website or the mobile app. They could also search Lantum for work within a set distance, or at the practices that they regularly worked with.

    After setting up their account, all users were given training according to their own unique case, such as the particular problems they were dealing with, as well as their history: for example, whether they had previously used Lantum or were completely new to the platform. Welcome packs were also distributed to facilitate a quicker start.

    Practices were also sent automated emails with tips on how to get the most out of the platform. The practice engagement team at Lantum also conducted calls to check that practices were confident with the system and had all the information they needed about the workforce bank.
The results
  • 1,005 staff signed up to the workforce bank, spread across 26 different staff types.
  • 394 practices onboarded onto Lantum, out of 447 total practices in Greater Manchester.
  • 88% onboarded within six months of the project's launch.
  • 94% fill rate across all hubs posting on Lantum in Greater Manchester.
  • 92% fill rate across all practices posting on Lantum in Greater Manchester.

Not only has Greater Manchester created an on-demand workforce bank to underpin the resilience and efficiency of their services, but by implementing a scalable platform to manage both their staffing and e-rostering, they provide a valuable tool for all their operations.

This project therefore represents an early example of successful system-level workforce management: the sharing and deploying of resources through one common platform, to deliver truly integrated services.

"The Lantum team are responsive, pragmatic, with a can-do attitude to problem-solving. And I really underestimated the Rota tool. For someone using it every day, their lives are made so much easier. And the data we get from Lantum is invaluable – we wouldn’t have had the same level of insight without it."

Kerry Porter, Primary Care Workforce Programme Manager, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership




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