A rota is a system for planning the staffing for different duties within the practice. It is used to:

  • ensure that all duties have sufficient cover

  • enable everyone in the practice to see who is responsible for particular duties on a given day

  • ensure patient needs can be met as fully as possible

  • ensure the right skill mix is available to deliver the services required

As rotas can be time-consuming to create, they are usually made in advance to cover a number of weeks at a time. This also allows staff involved in the rota to plan ahead, knowing in advance what they will be doing when.

There will usually be more than one rota in a practice. The most common are:

  • GP rota — for routine surgeries, emergency surgeries or extras, telephone consultations, emergency on-call

  • administrative staff rota — for shifts and the different reception and admin duties

  • nurses and/or AHP (allied health practitioners) rotas — for telephone consultations, triage, clinics.

It may be useful to merge the GP and nurse/AHP rotas into a single rota, especially if:

  • their work overlaps, for instance on telephone consultations

  • there is limited consultation space, shared between GPs and other clinical staff.

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