Multi-Organisational Scheduling - the 1st of 5 Outcomes-Based Staffing principles

Multi-Organisational Scheduling - the 1st of 5 Outcomes-Based Staffing principles

Multi-organisational scheduling: the key to building a borderless NHS workforce

Bringing genuine flexible working to NHS staff has always been the cornerstone of our mission at Patchwork Health. Over the past 5 years we’ve worked hard alongside our NHS partners to make this goal a reality.

However, the events of the past 12 months have shone a light on the need to do more. To achieve a truly sustainable, flexible future for health and care staffing, we need to tear down the barriers which are preventing collaboration in the NHS. The last year has shown us glimpses of what a more collaborative approach could look like, and we believe now is the time to build a borderless workforce.

This is why we are pioneering multi-organisational scheduling as the first of five core pillars of our Outcomes-Based Staffing approach and newly-launched rostering solution. It’s central to our mission to offer all health and care organisations access to staffing solutions where everyone’s objectives - from the individual through to the organisational - can be achieved simultaneously. 

NHS organisations have operated in silos for far too long. The direct impact of this is that the skills of workers are not being utilised in the most impactful way. This is accelerating burnout rates, exacerbating geographic inequalities in care provision, and ultimately risking patient outcomes. 

As focus turns towards ICS-models of care, we must create and deploy the tools our health service will need to make the transition. Multi-organisational scheduling is set to play a prominent role in ushering in a new era of NHS workforce planning and collaboration.

What can multi-organisational scheduling do?

Multi-organisational scheduling strips away the barriers that make the movement of NHS staff so difficult. It is the means by which the NHS can build a truly borderless workforce, one whose members can be scheduled across Integrated Care Systems. 

Multi-organisational scheduling makes it possible, for example, for an oncologist to be rostered across a range of clinical sites of multiple Trusts, allowing her to deliver care to wherever her patient is undergoing treatment. It’s a solution that allows a nurse to self-roster in the healthcare setting that is closest to his home, cutting hours of commuting time per week. 

A fundamental prerequisite for this workforce management system is the delivery of region-wide workforce visibility to HR managers and Trust leaders. Our new solutions grant an overview of where the staffing capacity and demand lies in the system, meaning that rotas can be fine-tuned to meet the present needs of each location, and staff members redeployed across local regions in line with data-led insight. 

How does it work in the best interests of staff?

Integral to the success of multi-organisational scheduling is the active support and participation of staff. This is why we’ve built user-friendly digital tools to make it easy to pick up shifts across a number of sites, and to facilitate the digital passporting of credentials so staff don’t encounter administrative delays or unnecessarily repeated inductions. This easy flexibility improves staff retention, as there’s no longer a need to resign from one position in order to access skill-building experiences in other locations. 

Another important feature that directly improves retention is that multi-organisational scheduling takes place as a joint enterprise between employers and workers. By giving workers an active role in deciding their shift locations, hours and dates, these same individuals are simultaneously empowered to manage their own career development, to alleviate burnout and to build a career that fits their lives.

How does it work in the best interests of the employer?

We also understand that key to the success of any large-scale transformation project is alignment with the organisation’s strategic and operational needs. Managers need automated systems and streamlined processes that they can rely on to reduce their administrative burden and deliver efficiencies across the board, whilst achieving their goals in delivering new models of care. And that’s why these tools are integrated seamlessly into our end-to-end workforce management solution.

The success of the emergency COVID measures (that made it temporarily possible for staff to be redeployed to provide support to Trusts in critical need) proves that flexible staff deployment is not only possible, but is highly impactful. What we need now is for all stakeholders to embrace the permanent infrastructure that can make this work in the long term. 

At Patchwork, we have the tools and solutions to support Trusts to implement multi organisational scheduling along a bespoke, tailored pathway. We can help NHS leaders roll out a workforce management system that is truly cross-organisational, and to achieve system-wide and ICS-level integration by sharing and designing rotas cooperatively. 

Now is the moment to consign siloed workforce planning to the past. Now is the moment for the NHS to operate as a connected, collaborative organism guided by the best interests of its people and patients. And we have the tools and services to make it happen.

You can read about 'Outcomes-Based Staffing,' the paradigm shift set to transform healthcare staffing, here.

To apply to join the Patchwork Rostering Accelerator and help shape the future of healthcare, please get in touch at

Participating NHS Trusts are eligible for access to Patchwork’s rostering solution on attractive commercial terms, including free use periods and waiving all implementation fees.

Dr Anas Nader
written by:

Dr Anas Nader