The client

Established as part of the NHS reforms in April 2011, Wirral Community NHS Trust is a community foundation trust providing quality community healthcare to the local community living on the Wirral peninsula which represents a patient population of just over 350,000. From Wallasey to Neston Wirral Community NHS Trust provides both primary and unplanned care to the local community. The trust’s rostering needs, for over 200 staff, across its day care GP service, out of hours GP service, minor injuries unit, three walk-in centres and its call centre are all taken care of by RotaMaster Online.

The supplier

IQUS Limited, founded by practising GP, Chris Jones, in 1999 is a well-established software house providing workforce management solutions to UK healthcare organisations. IQUS is a recognised market leader in the provision of enterprise-level, rota management software – with its flagship product, RotaMaster.

The brief

This case study tells a two-part story. Firstly Wirral Community NHS Trust’s implementation of Rota Master on their in-house servers to replace a manual staff rostering system; and secondly the organisation’s transition to RotaMaster Online, IQUS’ cloud solution.

Wirral Community NHS Trust initially implemented Rota Master in 2008 to replace a manual spreadsheet system for rostering that was becoming unwieldy as the organisation grew its team from 40 staff to over 200. Although the manual system worked and had done for many years, it was very time consuming, it involved a lot of paper and was not designed for a workforce of 200+ people. Also because it was paper-based it wasn’t always as accurate as it needed be. The RotaMaster implementation solved all of these problems and the team at Wirral were very happy with it.

In 2012 as part of Wirral’s plans to embrace cloud computing and its many advantages they made a decision to move over to the hosted version of their main patient management system, Adastra. For Wirral, the integration between RotaMaster and Adastra provides mission critical functionality for the department, so the most sensible next move was to switch to Rota Master online on the secure IQUS cloud.

The solution

Rota Master provides a comprehensive suite of software designed to satisfy all the rostering and rota creation needs of unscheduled care providers like the teams at Wirral Community NHS Trust. The tool takes away the headache of delivering the right person with the right skill mix to the area of the organisation that needs it on a daily basis. The software is highly tailorable and NHS Wirral has been able to configure unlimited rules to make it work just as the department wants it to. RotaMaster has many time saving features and IQUS offers integration services for patient management systems, finance systems and payroll systems. In this instance IQUS has developed robust integration for Wirral with their Adastra and Sage systems and Rota Master data is imported into their ESR (the NHS’s Electronic Staff Record) system.

Carole Bell, Shift Manager, Wirral Community NHS Trust – Unplanned Care said, “Managing our rotas through Rota Master has certainly made life easier for all of us. It is easy, efficient and reliable, we couldn’t manage without it.”

Following the move to the cloud in 2012 all the users at Wirral needed to run RotaMaster Online was a PC or laptop and an internet connection. RotaMaster no longer runs on in-house servers at Wirral, they sit in a secure data centre and are managed by IQUS’ technicians. This hosted Rota Master service is continually monitored by IQUS and runs in isolation without interference from other vendors’ or users’ software.

Carole Bell added, “The transition over to Rota Master Online was very straight forward and apart from a slightly different way of logging in, the user’s experience is exactly the same and all the same software functionality is available.”

Wirral's top five

We asked Wirral Community NHS Trust to list the top five benefits the organisation has realised as a result of using RotaMaster in general and also the benefits since the move to Rota Master Online:

Elimination of paper

Di McGonnell, Operations Manager, Wirral Community NHS Trust – Unplanned Care said, “There are hundreds of benefits actually. Some we saw straight away others have come since our move to the cloud. It is quite difficult for me to highlight just five, but one of the biggest benefits we saw from day one was getting rid of all the paper. As the service was expanding the amount of paper flying around was becoming more and more unmanageable. RotaMaster is a great software product, it’s very easy to use and because of the robust training we received from RotaMaster, our people very quickly began to trust RotaMaster. We also soon found out that RotaMaster has a very good help desk. With all this in place we were able to eliminate the need for paper rotas entirely in no time at all. Losing paper rotas is no longer an issue for us at Wirral.”

Saves a lot of time

RotaMaster delivers many time saving features. One good example of this for NHS Wirral relates to its integration with Adastra, the organisation’s out of hours patient management system. RotaMaster holds a comprehensive personnel database which can be populated by imports from an external file or other systems –an Adastra personnel file for example. RotaMaster can also export a completed rota direct to Adastra. This alone saves many hours of manual data entry for the unplanned care team and is error free.


The unplanned care team at NHS Wirral manages 212 staff over several sites. RotaMaster gives Shift Managers complete visibility of all staff across all sites at a glance.

A great tool

Di McGonnel added“RotaMaster is a great tool and we wouldn’t be without it. As well as giving us everything we need to manage our rotas easily and efficiently, it also helps us manage annual leave, absences and pay queries etc.”

Additional benefits from the cloud

All these benefits were evident before the move to the cloud and of course they have continued after the switch. Obviously now that Wirral Community NHS Trust is using RotaMaster on the IQUS cloud there are significant, long-term cost savings as there is no longer any need for expensive server hardware, certain software licences and in-house IT support staff. Software upgrades are managed remotely as are back-ups and there is no need for Citrix.

Di McGonnel told us, “There are of course cost saving advantages and efficiency and disaster recovery gains as a result of our move to the cloud. But far the biggest benefit from my point of view is ‘access anywhere’. Staff only need an internet connection and they can log in securely from any location in the world and use RotaMaster. This could be our managers checking rotas, staff completing online timesheets or admin staff managing absences. It makes life a whole lot easier in many different ways.”

Chris Jones, Managing Director of IQUS Limited said, “Wirral Community NHS Trust has expanded significantly over the last few years and it is very pleasing to see that RotaMaster is helping them tackle some of the challenges of rapid expansion in such a practical way. I am pleased we have been able to help them achieve a smooth transition to the cloud with a cost effective and reliable support solution providing reliable integration to their Adastra system at such a critical time in the trust’s development.”

The final word

The final word goes to NHS Wirral’s Di McGonnel, “I recommend IQUS and Rota Master to other health care organisations and agencies all the time. It is easy to use, reliable and gives us everything we need.”