Many small businesses, particularly those with part-time staff and those working in a regulated environment, have been struggling over recent years with the increased pressures caused by the time taken to deal with workforce management and payroll related issues.

The health and care sector is no different. Managers in primary care, hospices, care homes and Third Sector organisations have found that their workload has continued to increase as the demands on the Health and Social care sector have continued to grow. This is not only due to our age increasing population, more people with increased co-morbidities, reduction in Health and Social care funding in real terms but also due to the increase in regulation; specifically, the Care Quality Commission, Data Protection and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as well and the on-going need to comply with complex Employment law requirements.

Unlike large public sector organisations and corporates, these requirements usually fall upon a single or small team of general, rather than specialist, managers and the strain of keeping up with the workload and regulations is taking its toll upon these managers. This is particularly the case because software solutions have not been suitable to smaller organisations such as surgeries, charities, hospices and care homes, because costs are prohibitive, and systems are often too complex for the needs of smaller organisations.

The GP Five year Forward View made little reference to the increasing workload and pressures upon practice managers, with the focus being on clinical workload and infrastructure issues. In October this year at a Management in Practice conference, Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC Chair, stated that the work pressures on practice managers should not be underestimated.

There is an urgent need reduce everyday workload pressures through the use of technology. We are beginning to see progress being made with the use of technology for clinical administration processes, but little support to improve the use of technology for non-clinical back office processes. Moreover, managers are often nervous to consider such solutions because those available in the market rarely integrate and therefore do not yield the efficiencies so badly needed.

The emerging primary care at scale models such as federations and super practices, have the opportunity to use software solutions to share staff across a system whilst also using their size to negotiate best purchase price for software for a number of practices.

The introduction of an effective integrated workforce management solution will achieve a number of key outcomes:

  • Reduce the time spent by managers managing their workforce and therefore provide them with more time to deal with operational issues and business planning more effectively
  • Improve compliance with workforce related CQC requirements
  • Ensure compliance with the GDPR in respect of workforce related documentation

So, by embracing technology within the emerging new ways of working, this can really help you manage your workforce more effectively and remove paper and spreadsheet driven processes.

Mark Galloway

Mark is Managing Director of Snowdon Office Ltd; Chair of a GP Federation in South London and has worked in variety of roles within Primary Care over the last 7 years.

Snowdon Office Ltd is offering a special rate to IHM members for payroll services.  Further details can be found within the Member Offers section of our website.