Overhauling a critical healthcare service, to streamline the process of matching locums to GP practices across Wales.

Founded by working General Practitioners, GP Wales is an online service that seeks to streamline the way GP services are managed, by making it easier to match practitioners looking for placements with practices that require support. The GP Wales service is engaged and funded by NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership, Train Work Live and the Welsh Government, with the aim of making a genuine, lasting, and efficient impact on NHS services in Wales.

Screenshot showing the main GP Wales site

As the pressure being faced by GP surgeries increased massively in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, GP Wales made the decision to accelerate development of their Locum Hub, which focuses specifically on securing temporary locum cover for shifts within general practice. They enlisted Box UK to expand and refine the LocumHubWales.co.uk digital platform, adding new features, making it more user-friendly, and providing on-going bespoke development support.

Offering a user-friendly, high-performance online jobs and shifts database, the updated Locum Hub Wales platform represents a huge step forward in the digitisation of Wales’ healthcare services, and provides a national tool for both practice managers and locum GPs to quickly and easily fill placements. The success of the platform has also been recognised internationally, winning Gold in the ‘Best Use of Digital’ category at the International Digital Experience Awards, alongside a Silver award for ‘Best Digital Response to the Crisis – SME’.

GP Wales have been extremely impressed by the quality of the work delivered by Box UK, and the collaborative approach taken to address complex and high-priority requirements in order to find the best possible solution for the organisation and its users. Box UK continues to work closely with the client to update other areas of the GP Wales offering, including a rebuild of the main GP Wales site.

"Far and away the best development house we've ever used, forward thinking, genuine, open, authentic people who want the best for our organisation and users. They've gathered exceptional talent and it shows in the work produced."

TJ Wheeler
Director, GP Wales

A ‘one-stop shop’ for locums

The process of matching GP locums with practice shifts has traditionally been a highly manual process, often relying on word-of-mouth recommendations and paper-based communications. Where digital solutions have been in place, these have often been legacy systems that are not built around the needs of locums and practice managers, and which do not deliver the levels of performance needed to cope with the demands of GP care today.

Doctor using stethoscope on patient

GP Wales was founded to fix issues such as these, which were being experienced by the organisation’s directors – working general practitioners themselves – along with their friends and colleagues. They began by launching the main GP Wales site, advertising permanent positions to make it easy for GPs to search and apply for relevant vacancies.

Development of an additional service targeted specifically at locum placements was expedited at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, as GP surgeries experienced extremely high levels of demand, and filling vacant shifts at speed became a priority. As a result, GP Wales set up a dedicated hub for locum shifts: Locum Hub Wales.

Improving performance and usability

Box UK was brought onto the Locum Hub Wales project to expand and refine the initial digital platform, implementing performance improvements to ensure that the end-user experience is slick, seamless and error-free across multiple devices and browsers, and introducing new features including booking functionality, invoicing, search parameters, notifications, and mailouts.

These improvements and enhancements were built in Laravel PHP on top of the existing technology framework, enabling Box UK’s developers to swap out existing elements of the platform as they went – supporting rapid development without negatively impacting GP Wales’ ability to serve their users.

Person looking at two computer screens

Rapidly delivering a critical service

As the Box UK team was working to a challenging deadline driven by the pandemic response, maintaining the flexibility needed to react to changing requirements and priorities was crucial. Box UK collaborated closely with GP Wales throughout the project to ensure that they had a clear understanding of what needed to be delivered and – crucially – why.

This collaboration, combined with the transparency and communication facilitated by an Agile approach to development, ensured the rapid delivery of updates to the crucial Locum Hub Wales digital platform, allowing users across the various NHS Wales health boards to post and fill vacancies at a time when this was most needed.

Expanding and enhancing the GP Wales offering

The work undertaken by Box UK has helped GP Wales take their service to the next level, and has provided a valuable template for digital healthcare services, based on real-world experiences and feedback, that can be used to drive long-term transformation across the sector.

With the continued support of Box UK, GP Wales plans to continue to expand this digital-first, user-centred approach to even more services and areas, in order to deliver increased efficiencies and cost-savings, improve the experience for healthcare professionals, and support quality patient care.

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