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NHS Confederation comments on RCN survey on bureaucracy

A Royal College of Nursing survey indicates nurses are spending an estimated 2.5 million hours a week on non-essential paperwork and clerical tasks. Mike Farrar says it is clear we need to do more to free staff to spend more time caring for patients.

Mike Farrar, NHS Confederation chief executive, said:

"We fully recognise the story that the RCN's survey tells. It is entirely consistent with the picture that has emerged during the first phase of our work on tackling the burden of bureaucracy in the NHS.

"More than four out of 10 NHS clinicians, managers and board members have told us they spend between one and three hours of their working day personally collecting and recording information. Three-quarters told us certain information collected for regulators or for national requirements is irrelevant.

"It is clear we need to do more to free staff from the shackles of unnecessary form filling and create more time to spend on patient care. We need a smarter system of information use, not a bigger one. And we need to embrace technology that helps rather than hinders staff, moving away from the paper-based archaic NHS.

"The NHS has tolerated far more information being demanded from it than necessarily serves its purpose. This must change.

"Much of the problem at the moment lies in the fact that there are often multiple requests for information which isn't always shared between departments, organisations and regulators. This information needs to be streamlined so it is properly shared with patients and the public to help inform the decisions they make about their care, and across NHS organisations and the wider health system to look at how we can improve the care we deliver.

"We are currently undertaking a major piece of work looking at how we can cut bureaucracy by a third in the NHS. Over the coming months, we will be talking to staff, patients and national bodies about how best to tackle the problem. These views will be integral to helping us identify what bits of bureaucracy are slowing staff down and how we can deliver significant improvements rather than just tinkering around the edges.

"We will report our findings and recommendations in September."

Notes to Editors

More work on the NHS Confederation's work on reducing bureaucracy in the NHS can be accessed here and here

The NHS Confederation represents all organisations that commission and provide NHS services. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole of the NHS. We help the NHS to guarantee high standards of care for patients and best value for taxpayers by representing our members and working together with our health and social care partners.

The Mental Health Network represents the majority of mental health trusts. It was launched in spring 2007 to provide a distinct voice for providers of NHS mental health services. The Network is part of the NHS Confederation.

We make sense of the whole health system, influence health policy and deliver industry-wide support functions for the NHS.

Follow the NHS Confederation press office on Twitter @NHSConfed_Press

A full list of NHS Confederation press releases and statements can be accessed on our media page

For out of hours media enquiries, please call the Duty Press Officer on 07880 500726 


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