Department of Health and Social Care
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Data consultation to cut NHS red tape

Data consultation to cut NHS red tape

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 30 August 2011

Plans to reduce red tape by cutting unnecessary data collections across the NHS will save millions by releasing administrative and clerical resources to better support front line patient care.

A 12 week consultation starting today proposes that up to 25% of all current data returns commissioned by the Department of Health and its arms length bodies should be discontinued. This would lead to a reduction in burden on the NHS of approximately £10million.

Over 300 separate data collections commissioned by the Department of Health and its arms length bodies were assessed as to how they impact on and improve patient and clinical care..

Patient groups, research organisations, academic institutions and NHS trusts are now being asked for their views on proposals to streamline data collections across health and social care.

The consultation builds on the government’s commitment in the NHS White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS to undertake a fundamental review of data returns.

Public Health Minister, Anne Milton said:

“Meaningful information is the lifeblood of the NHS. The data we collect must be of real value to help us improve patient outcomes, patient choice and clinical decisions. We know that some of the data that is being gathered is of limited use, taking up valuable staff time and resources.

This is why we want to cut red tape in the NHS so that staff can focus on what matters most – improving frontline care and services for patients.”

Chief Executive of the NHS Information Centre, Tim Straughan said:

“High-quality, relevant and up-to-date information is essential to enable the NHS to deliver the best possible care for patients. The purpose of this review is to make sure we collect data that can make a real impact in helping to improve care while stopping data returns that are no longer needed and only continue for historical reasons.

In reaching our recommendations, we looked at more than 300 data returns, covering 12 distinct themes and involving contributions from over 200 people. We believe the result of review will free local NHS staff from unnecessary administrative burdens while at the same time supporting patient choice and better decision-making within the NHS.”

A second phase of work will be carried out to examine how remaining data returns can be rationalised. The aim is for data to be collected and processed efficiently and for any burden on information providers to be kept to a minimum.

The consultation runs from 30 August to 22 November 2011.


Notes to editors: 1. For full details on the consultation visit


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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