The Doctors have spoken and they want an app

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Could this simple, but effective, quality improvement project (QIP) be replicated at your hospital?

Two doctors in Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital were unhappy with the processes in place to manage locum shifts and so took it upon themselves to undertake a quality improvement project (QIP) to see if their colleagues agreed, with interesting findings.

Dr Benjamin James and Dr Rosalind Mole, an F2 and SpR respectively, used an internet-based survey to question their colleagues about their experiences of organising locum shifts.  With responses from over 100 doctors, from F1 up to registrar level, the results speak for themselves.

  • Doctors are receiving on average 5 emails per day about locum shifts from multiple specialties
  • 84% of doctors said the emails were not all appropriate for their training level
  • 52% of doctors surveyed put ‘Unsatisfactory’ for the current email system for locum shifts
  • 25% of doctors thought that the response time to an email about a locum shift was ‘Always unsatisfactory’ whereas only 9% said it was ‘Always satisfactory’
  • Over 60% of the doctors surveyed thought excessive and irrelevant emails put them off signing up for locum shifts
  • Free text quotes included ‘The short time notice is a particular problem’ and ‘Sometimes I respond to an advert for a locum only to be told it’s been taken and the next day they are still advertising it!’
  • A staggering 90% of the doctors surveyed would like a ‘Free to use application with interactive screen’
  • 87% of the doctors either agreed or strongly agreed that this would increase the likeliness of them doing a locum shift
  • 88% either agreed or strongly agreed they wanted digital timesheets instead of the current system


Thankfully, Locum’s Nest provides the solution to all of the issues raised.

  1. Browse available shifts tailored to your preferences including location, specialty and grade on a simple app.  Managers can upload all vacancies in advance, eliminating the need for persistent emails.
  2. We encourage being proactive, there are shifts being posted >6 months into the future at our partner trusts, giving you the control to plan ahead.
  3. If a shift is visible on the app, it’s available, if it’s been filled then you won’t be able to see it.
  4. Every penny that you earn on a shift goes into your pocket, not ours, as we are not commission based.  We’re run by doctors, for doctors, with the NHS in mind.
  5. Our app allows you to manage your shifts and keep an up to date work experience log for those shifts completed through the app.
  6. All timesheets are submitted digitally, so no more lost paper timesheets.  Our in-app tracker allows you to clearly see the progress of your timesheet at all times.
  7. The digital passport, free as part of our app, gives you a convenient place to store all your important documents like CV and DBS check.


We are here to help and support you in the process – together let’s make locuming easy, and save some money for the NHS in the process!

With many thanks to Dr Benjamin James, F2 at Derriford Hospital for his permission to publish his research

Jason Peart