Our Story

Dr Fiona O'Connell


The evolution of OmniRota began as a result of the rota trauma faced by Dr Fiona O’Connell, a junior partner in a thriving Edinburgh GP practice. Given the job of managing the surgery rota, she turned to her husband Andrew who, with a background in HR and IT, began the process of creating OmniRota.

Juggling the demands of a modern practice is a full-time job in itself

The fluctuating demands are huge: day-to-day clinical care, chronic disease management, training, audit, Agenda for Change, numerous partners, special interests, part-time staff, nursing care, the list goes on. It’s a real headache to co-ordinate room allocation, annual leave, training and study days in an equitable, fair and flexible way.

We had outgrown the old “first-come-first-served” way of doing things

Our practice had grown and evolved. The old rota system couldn’t cope with the new face of “new contract” clinical care. Luckily, all the partners were in agreement that the allocation of annual leave and the rota allocation of duties should be fair. The old way necessitated a race for annual leave requests during school holidays and unfairly lumbering one person with the busiest on-call days.

We developed a series of “rota rules” to make sure the it was fair to all

Rules included a fair allocation of more enjoyable aspects of practice care, such as Friday afternoons off and teaching medical students and our registrar. Clinicians would be allocated time set aside for their own areas of chronic disease management and audit, but the timing for these sessions would suit the practice. We were keen to ensure that there was always a partner on the premises.

The old, manual way of creating a rota was taking hours of precious time and everything had to be remembered

A three-month rota had taken the previous partner 10 to 12 hours of adjusting and checking to ensure that all the little quirks and idiosyncrasies of our particular practice were being catered for. We had to remember preferences such as one partner couldn’t do “on-call” on a particular day because of the school run and cater for half days on a Friday being sought after and shared equally.

The OmniRota system does all the work and is now a small part of an admin role, so we can concentrate on patient care

It is so easy to use, that even I could upkeep the small amount of admin. It gave me specific alerts if the practice was understaffed on any particular day or if any preferences weren’t met. I can print or send rotas to individual mobile devices.

We could not find a system that created the rota for you, so we developed one ourselves

Unfortunately, most systems still need you to create your own rota, rather than it do all the hard work. My husband, an accomplished programmer decided to write a programme for us. It was difficult to create, so we knew straight away why it had not been done before. We tested it thoroughly so it could be flexible, fair and easily adjusted with future changes to your practice or personnel.