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Innovative NHS resource-booking system signs up 20th customer

UBook, the resource-booking system designed by NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, has just signed its 20th customer.

Many NHS organisations have traditionally reserved rooms, desks and parking spaces via a combination of spreadsheets, paper diaries and Outlook calendars. Staff often had to call multiple sites to locate a suitable room, and trying to change or trace a booking was difficult.

With UBook, staff can reserve meeting rooms, clinical rooms, hot desks, zones, parking spaces or any physical resource such as a projector with just a few clicks. The service can be accessed 24/7, via any browser, on any device.

Originally developed in 2017, UBook came into its own when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Its developers responded rapidly, adding in social distancing measures – particularly useful for hot-desk reservations – and enabling organisations to better plan for hybrid working post-pandemic. A useful evolution of these features is that UBook can now offer estate managers a dashboard showing live and trended occupancy rates, non-check-in profiling and recharging data for invoices.

UBook’s rapidly growing customer base includes nine trusts, five clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and three of the four commissioning support units, as well as its first integrated care system and local authority clients.

Bill Douglas of MLCSU explains how the team has regularly beaten off commercial competition on both feature set and price: “Our pricing model is tier based, so it’s reasonable and fair. You only pay for as many rooms and desks as you publish. That means affordability for a small network of GP practices and great economies of scale for a large acute.”

As for the future, Douglas says the product roadmap is continually evolving.

“We’re offering demonstrations of UBook every week and would love to continue adding more organisations to our customer base. The benefit of using UBook is that it’s a tool built by the NHS, for the NHS. Every feature is the result of a trust or CCG asking for it, and we have a closely managed collective roadmap for UBook’s future releases.”