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Cut 95% of the red tape in the NHS (especially the Mental Health side).

1 Comment 2nd July 2010

I believe that we could cut 95% of the red tape in the NHS (especially in the Mental Health field) and provide a better service to more patients while reducing stress of front line staff and saving money.

So much of the paperwork, audits and computer inputting is not needed to give practical and psychological healp to the patient and is in fact a major distraction and hindrance to this aim.

By using IT systems intelligently and allways focussing on whether an action will benefit the patient or just sustain our own organisation we could be so much more efficient, effective and a better service.

Why does this matter?

In the last 10 years I have seen red tape and paperwork increase enormously in the Mental Health field of teh NHS. Much of this is repetition and is unrelated to the purpose of why I came into Mental Health Nursing, namely directly helping the patient. So much of the work is to complete "stats" to ensure that funding continues for the Trust. One colleague estimated that 95% of his working week was involved in completing paperwork.

Much of my work involves assessing people and the paperwork involved in each assessment has increased from 2 helpful forms (assessment and risk assessment forms) to 5 (basic details, referral, FACS,  added to the first two) and will soon increase by 2 more for each patient (HONOS and "clustering" for "payment by results"). Add to this multiple other forms if the patient is seen for any length of time and you get the situation where your worth as a health professional is measured in terms of the paperwork that you churn out, that is rarely read again by another person and has little or no impact on the patient (It's only use is to be read if something goes wrong in order to point the finger of blame and to secure more funding for the next year- It seems quite obvious that things would be less likely to go wrong if the professional could concentrate more time on face to face contact with the patient and not be concentrating on getting the paperwork done, and there wouldn't be such pressures on services if people were freed up to see more patients and provide them with a better service).

Frequent audits and surveys are another distraction from the real work of face to face patient contact, that are usually there to secure funding but have the effect of exhausing staff and sapping morale.

All of this information is then collected and put onto 3 different computer systems (again, mainly to secure funding); firstly the GP computer system which is the logical place for this information to be as the GP needs to see information about risks and treatment plans in order to practice safely- the patient is more likely to see the GP than other health professionals. The two othetr systems are Menatl Health and Social Services databases, none of which communicate with each other and is surely a recipie for partial or missed information sharing (which always comes up in Coroners reports when mistakes occur).

So, by cutting red tape, paperwork and audits and allowing front line staff to concentrate on what they are good at and what they came into the job to do you would save money and improve the NHS. Admittedly this is from a Mental Health point of view as that is where I have 25 years of experience, but I'm sure the equivelant could be found in other area of the NHS.

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One Response to Cut 95% of the red tape in the NHS (especially the Mental Health side).

  1. sean skey says:

    i totally agree with you on this one,far too much time spent on paperwork and not enough with the patient/client,we need to try and make a change to the current set up too many people are slipping through the net and going unnoticed until it’s too late,we need to get something sorted and soon.

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