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Covid-19 Deployment Hub

Monday 29th June 2020

Covid-19 Deployment Hub

NECS was commissioned to set up and facilitate a Deployment Hub as a direct response to Covid-19.  Janine Lutz is Head of Human Resources at NECS and explains about the Deployment Hub in detail below.

“NECS aims to support health and social care customers with strategic and operational challenges, with a view to improving outcomes and increasing efficiency. We look for ways that we can make positive changes to the way that services are delivered, with a view to improving patient care.

“It was clear that healthcare services would come under unprecedented strain as a result of Covid-19. We were commissioned by the CCG Clinical Chairs in the North East and North Cumbria to centrally coordinate the workforce resource availability across Primary Care, workforce demand and coordination of deployments to match availability of colleagues – particularly clinical – to support the collaborative response within our regional system.

“We were very quickly able to facilitate a solution by creating the NECS Deployment Hub, supported by Deploy, an online tool where organisations across the system could have a single point of contact and request additional temporary staffing.  The Deployment Hub team was able to search available resource from the Deploy database via a number of search options, including search by role, band, FT equivalent rate and how long the support was needed for. Designed to be as user-friendly as possible, the Deploy tool built in search functionality against geographical location.

“Because this was a system which effectively helped to manage employee resource, HR led on the Deployment Hub within NECS, meaning that workforce assignments were co-ordinated appropriately to support CCGs, NECS and Primary Care organisations in our ICS area. All NHS organisations requesting help from the Deployment Hub needed to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place, but we were also able to expand this to other non-NHS organisations within the health and social care sector in need of support with a Workforce Sharing Agreement (WSA) – including care homes which had been impacted by Covid-19.

“An example of this is a request which came through on the Deployment Hub for the release of two CHC nurses to support a care home in North Cumbria. We were able to deliver this quickly, supporting weekend cover.

“HR also worked with other specialists within NECS to provide not only a technical solution to the issue, but additional strategic value through further guidance and expertise on the requests received. For example, a general nursing home request was received for senior managers, but we knew that realistically a Healthcare Assistant with the ability to dispense medications was needed instead. We were able to offer this solution to the customer.

“The Deployment Hub captured a comprehensive overview of workforce resource and potential availability across the system. We were able to quickly determine how many nurses were available in geographical locations and we could also identify where the workforce gaps were with the Deployment Hub data and put solutions in place before any issues developed.

“Deploy also worked as a really useful data gathering tool and could identify how many staff were available for deployment on any one given day, how many were off sick or were isolating due to Covid-19.

“Collaboration and continuous improvement were built in throughout the project and, while the Deployment Hub was originally built for deployment of NECS staff, the system was expanded so that CCGs and Primary Care could also use it to deploy staff.

“Feedback has been positive and users found it hugely helpful at a very challenging time. Care Homes had the right staff deployed to them quickly where they were available, making requests from one central point.

“Overall NECS facilitated the deployment of over 450 staff within our own CSU, into Primary Care, CCGs and the community since April 2020. We’ve had 106 requests to date and are still working on several to resolve resource issues. This has been a challenging time for the sector, but we are pleased to be able to offer innovative products and solutions to help.”

For more information about the Deployment Hub, contact necsu.deployment@nhs.net