Nurses forced to waste time on paperwork, poll finds

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Many nurses feel as though they are drowning in a sea of paperwork, the Royal College of Nursing has found.

We all know what long hours and hard work nurses face on a day-to-day basis. But this could be exacerbated by the fact that they are being forced to waste time doing reams of paperwork during each shift.

According to a new poll by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), more than a sixth of the working week is currently taken up by non-essential paperwork, with nurses "drowning" in a sea of documents.

This amounts to 17.3 per cent of their hours taken up by things like photocopying when they could be spending more time with patients, with many not having assistants to do filing for them.

Many also reported that the problem is getting worse rather than better, despite recent promises by the coalition government that the NHS is implementing new paperless technology over the coming years.

"We recognise very much the survey and we are concerned about it," said NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar. "We’re still doing far too much on paper, far too much duplication."

RCN general secretary Peter Carter commented: "Yes, some paperwork is essential and nurses will continue to do this, but patients want their nurses by their bedside, not ticking boxes. When it takes a nurse double the amount of time to complete a paper form and then type it up on a computer, you know something has gone very wrong indeed."

It definitely does sound as though something is going wrong – surely the whole point of better IT systems is to reduce the amount of time clerical tasks take, not add to it?

This will have to improve if the NHS is to go completely paperless by 2018, as Jeremy Hunt wants.

In the meantime, if you’re worried about too much paperwork at your firm just drop us a line at Dajon Data Management to find out about our document scanning services, which can free up lots of time for staff who no longer need to search through filing cabinets for what they need.

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