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Ministries pledge to cut NHS bureaucracy

But will it work?
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

But will it work?

The government is trying to cut down on bureaucracy in the health service to give staff more time to focus on patient care.

The Cabinet Office and the Department of Health have, in a report, signalled that reducing the 'confusion' around sharing data would improve business practices in the NHS.

Jim Murphy, the Cabinet Office minister responsible for better regulation, said in a statement: "This report is about removing some of the barriers that inhibit frontline health and social care staff on a day-to-day basis.

"By clearing up the confusion that currently exists around sharing patient information and removing some of the administrative burdens on staff, we are enabling them to focus on the invaluable work of treating patients."

The report, dubbed Making a Difference: Safe and Secure Data Sharing Between Health and Adult Social Care Staff, said: "A great deal of data can and should be shared... However, persistent confusion exists amongst practitioners and professionals over the interpretation of data sharing legislation. This confusion stems from the perception that the Data Protection Act is vague and lacks sufficient detail required at grass-roots."

According to the Cabinet Office, by December, a single data-sharing initiative will be developed to cut through paperwork created by legislation.

One of the aims is for the ministries to reduce the time taken processing personal injury claims, which require healthcare staff to copy "thousands" of patient records on a daily basis.

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