Public Health England uses new app to manage scaled workforce during COVID-19 crisis

Public Health England (PHE) has adopted a new workforce management system to support their operation as they rapidly scale up their teams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff-management firm Deputy’s app-based technology aims to relieve managers of the scheduling and administration burden of managing healthcare workers. It quickly generates rotas based on staff availability, qualifications and roles. 

Managers use a dashboard for a complete overview of their workforce, while employees can download an easy-to-use app on their phone which gives them greater control over their shifts and availability for overtime.

The system also incorporates Deputy’s new touchless clock-in, which has been designed in response to the global pandemic. It uses facial recognition and voice commands to enable employees to clock in and out of work, as well as start and end breaks, without touching a screen.


According to PHE, a solution was needed to reduce the administration overheads for managers and enable them to focus on providing the critical response and care needed in response to COVID-19. 

“Deputy offered fast deployment and worked with us to define a system to meet our immediate needs within necessarily aggressive timescales,” a PHE spokesperson said. 


Meanwhile, staffing has also come under the spotlight for NHSX, with chief executive Matthew Gould sending an email to staff underlining the abuse of government contracts by private tech contractors.

Gould emphasised the need for increased vigilance around exploitation, as a wave of tech companies are being drafted in to support the NHS in their effort against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHS has been working with several tech companies in response to the pandemic, including several key players in the telecoms industry, which have pledged to support the need for increased connectivity as essential services move online. 

Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Plantir are also working with the NHS to create a COVID-19 dashboard to collate data from health and social care sources, including PHE.  


David Kelly, general manager for EMEA at Deputy said: “We are proud to be supporting PHE during these unprecedented times. Many organisations are facing huge changes in their staffing levels and roles – including dealing with volunteer labour pools – as we all try to manage our way through this crisis.

“At Deputy we recognise the heightened need for agility and flexibility to scale entirely new workforces quickly, manage last-minute changes to schedules smoothly, and keep direct lines of communication with all staff. We are working hard to ensure swift delivery in our response to Covid-19.” 

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