The NHS Confederation is calling on the Department of Health and Arms Length Bodies (ALBs) to help organisations focus on securing the best patient care by reducing the unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on NHS organisations.
In recent years, the number of administrative staff working in the NHS has dropped by ten per cent and the number of managers has dropped by 18 per cent. However, the NHS Confederation paper, Information Overload: Tackling Bureaucracy in the NHS,suggests that the requests on organisations to provide information may have not decreased in line with this.
The organisation warns that, unless the bureaucratic burden on NHS organisations is reduced, there is a risk that frontline staff time will be diverted from patient care to form filling and box ticking. It says a rise in the bureaucratic burden could increase the risk of distracting staff time away from patient care.
The NHS Confederation report says insufficient progress has been made in reducing bureaucracy in the health service since it carried out its last review in 2009. There is a risk that the complex structure of the new NHS and the increased number of organisations will add to the administrative burden on NHS organisations.
The Confederation believes that the information demanded of NHS organisations should be kept to what is necessary to support the delivery of high-quality patient care and to drive improvements in services. It must also provide real assurance for the public on compassionate patient care.
The NHS Confederation is calling on the Department of Health to support the implementation the recommendations of its review as soon as possible, to free up staff resources and money for frontline services. The NHS is committed to working with the Department and ALBs to go further and to give immediate consideration of how new burdens could be averted in the new NHS landscape.
“We are concerned that patient care could be affected because organisations and staff are distracted by the burdens of administrative requests from external organisations. Our members have told us that this is a growing problem for them. We will be working with them in the coming months to help them address this issue and feed back their concerns and proposals to the Government and other relevant bodies,” said Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation.
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