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Success of anti-bureaucracy drive will be measured at ward level

The man leading the government’s NHS red tape review has told Nursing Times he plans to spend time working with nurses on the frontline to find out how paperwork can be cut.

The review by NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar was announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this week. It forms part of the government’s response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry report.

Mr Hunt pledged that any changes made as a result of the report into how systems failed to spot poor care at Mid Staffordshire would not increase the bureaucratic burden on hospitals.

He is hoping the review will identify ways to reduce bureaucracy by a third, a target Mr Farrar described as “ambitious but realistic”. 

“A third of people’s time could have a real impact,” he said. “The success of this work will be demonstrated by whether this has made a material impact on people at ward level.”

Royal College of Nursing policy director Howard Catton told Nursing Times the most common complaints from nurses about bureaucracy were about being asked to provide the same information more than once and a lack of technology.

Mr Farrar said reducing duplication would be a focus of the review along with looking at how data was collected, what type of data was collected and how to free up staff time.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams told Nursing Times time spent on form filling could be reduced and patient safety improved by simplifying and standardising documentation between organisations, such as the surgical safety checklist.

The checklist was originally devised by the World Health Organization and adapted for England and Wales by the National Patient Safety Agency.

Readers' comments (9)

  • coming to see what it's like on the wards will be a good thing.there is a lot of red tape, even more frustrating is when it 'gets lost' or someone hasn't bothered reading what you've done so you have to do it all over again.

    i don't suppose for one minute he will be able to visit all hospitals, does this mean that it will be handed down - eventually ending up at staff nurse level (night staff usually get this sort of thing to sort out) who will have to tick some sort of form.

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  • Susan Markham

    How does this sadly sound all too familiar?

    First the public inquiry, then a review, then a survey, then the recommendations, then a green paper followed by a white one, then due consideration by government... and what-do-ya-know... a decade and a bit has gone by and now everybody's forgotten what the original question was!

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  • Susan Markham | 15-Feb-2013 12:57 pm

    how else are they going to keep all these people in employment? they probably don't have the qualities and qualifications for jobs of more practical use!

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  • "The man leading the government’s NHS red tape review has told Nursing Times he plans to spend time working with nurses on the frontline to find out how paperwork can be cut."

    in order to be effective he must come with an industrial sized shredder and a team large enough to cope with the task!

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  • Susan Markham

    Anonymous | 15-Feb-2013 1:11 pm

    Too true!

    Anonymous | 15-Feb-2013 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the giggle!

    Oh I do hope we are all wrong.

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  • we are not wrong - this is silly, we know what the red tape involves, our managers seem to love it though. i am looking forward to assisting in the auditing of the audit in the audit department carried our by the auditors.

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  • Susan Markham

    Hey... Good news!


    Ahhhhhh.... sweet satisfaction... the wall is finally starting to crumble.... another two former CE's have followed Gary Walker's example and are spilling the beans to PC plod and the press!

    The second whistleblower is David Bowles, the former chairman of United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, and Mr Walker’s former boss.

    It looks like Sir David Nicholson is going... along with his sidekick Dame Edna Everuseless... The Daily Maul Have already sacked both of them.

    Sir Dave is having his expense accounts investigated by the lads at the Met. He has spent £6,000 of public money on trips to Birmingham – where his wife lives.

    Many of the “visits” spanned long weekends, (meaning he was only working Tuesday to Thursday) prompting speculation he was using taxpayers’ money for “private” purposes. Of course it was just tax-payers money.... just a “slush-fund” for an unelected and corrupt oligarchy...

    Well wouldn't all of us Nurses just love to go away for long romantic weekends at the tax-payers expense????

    Heheheheee.... Yeah - in another universe maybe?

    In the meantime... Tory MPs are trying to distance themselves from the obvious effluent outflow ASAP.

    Two MPs have already called upon "Old Nick" to quit - and by the time you read this it will be up to double figures.

    Sir David, whose annual salary package is £270,000, insists he is ‘not ashamed’ to still be in his post because the failure were ‘system wide’ rather than individual.

    The truth is that the £270,000 is blood money....

    I've heard that even Germy Hunt's position is being debated behind closed doors...

    Of course none of this is going to effect you and I because - of course - we are the mere humble servants that are called "Nurses"... so we will continue to politely curtsey or doff our hats and accept a minimum wage - - - - - - BUT AT LEAST WE CAN HAVE A BLOODY GOOD LAUGH WHEN THE BIG HEADS ROLL AND SAY....

    We told you so!

    Then maybe the people in charge might start listening to us front-line nurses (small 'n')

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  • Susan Markham, I love your humour! You are demonstrating the intelligence that we have and that we are not as stupid as they want to treat us, thank you!

    To the original article, the real problem is that the red tape is wrapped up with the risk averse, fear driven culture, not just in healthcare but in our society. Everyone is so afraid of being sued, that we invent all sorts of paperwork to try and reduce this risk. On top of this, we then have the politically driven targets that add another layer of complexity.

    If we are to reduce unnecessary paperwork it's going to take a bit more than someone coming on a visit or introducing technology, it needs someone with the courage to cut the c**p.

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  • Susan Markham

    Anonymous | 19-Feb-2013 10:29 am

    “Susan Markham, I love your humour! You are demonstrating the intelligence that we have and that we are not as stupid as they want to treat us, thank you!”

    Hey “Anonymous | 19-Feb-2013 10:29 am” are you a guy around 30 with big abs and a large package? If you are... my daughter might like to meet you.... if you are a gal – with the same specifications – then my son is currently looking to get hitched-up!

    Yeah I know – my sense of humour doesn't go down to well on this NT site. What can I say? My father was John Markham, the Vicar of a very small Parish called Teynham located between Sittingbourne and Faversham. I grew up as the youngest of three daughters. My elder sister went off to do missionary work in Biafra... I went off to do nursing at Preston Hall Hospital... and it all went downhill after that!

    Humour is a very particular thing and like one of my first nursing tutors once said to me “If you don't have a sense of humour – you'll never survive becoming a nurse!”

    He was so right. For nearly forty years I have seen this NHS that I love “wobbled-around” more than a pile of green jelly on a fat man's belly.... It makes me cry – but I have to laugh.... because if I didn't it would make me cry even more....

    And so I make jokes... I am flippant.... I am disrespectful... I swear and cuss... I sometimes lose it and go overboard.... sometimes I make people think... mostly I make people angry because I make them think.... I make people question why they are actually nurses, I make people question what the definition of “professionalism” actually is and whether they can actually quantify it.... and then cut it.

    Most of all... I like weeding out the trolls on these pages.... the “Anonymous” people who log on and register to this Nursing Times site but can't even be bothered to use a false name....

    When I see “Anonymous” I instantly know that it is someone trying to “troll” for an angry response.

    The best response for all responsible users of this site is to use a name... it doesn't have to be your name and you don't have to tell anyone who you are... you already have anonymity.

    So no one can report you to your Trust (or whatever) so you can speak freely.

    The ONLY reason why you would want to remain as “Anonymous” is if you are a Troll OR if you are a spy from the local TRUST!

    Therefore, my fellow Nurses.... beware of “Anonymous” because he/she is a spy!

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