NHS Trust boards spew out oceans of paper
LaserJets over laser surgery
Haven't they heard of email? The NHS may be undertaking the largest civilian IT project ever, but the managers sure seem fond of paper.
Boards of NHS Trusts created at least 22 million paper documents in the past two years, generated for communications to senior managers, and to each other. The number is probably higher, since only 258 of the 430 Trusts have so far complied with Freedom of Information requests.
The South West Essex Trust was the worst culprit, generating 333,000 documents, but four of the five worst offenders were in Teesside: Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton on Tees teaching Trust. Why Teesside? It must be the Parmos.
The paper trail was unearthed by researcher Kirsty Skinn.
The NHS has over 42,000 managers and the Department of Health burned through almost half a billion pounds in fees to external consultants in the year 2009-2010, we learned from the release of the Coins database last week.
Health watchdog the King's Fund reports that while the number of staff rose 35 per cent from 1999 to 2009 (to 1,117,000), the number of managers rose by 85 per cent.
Someone should hold a meeting. ®
Not much has changed, then.
A few years ago I worked in an NHS hospital lab. I went there after some years in industry. I didn't last 6 months, despite being far more expert in laboratory methods than most around me. Bad enough that most senior lab staff seemed to think actual work was beneath their station - the department head started at 10am, took 2 hours for lunch, and buggered off at 4pm. More junior staff regularly worked a dozen hours or more unpaid overtime a week. I reported to management that many lab tests were being severely compromised by pressure of work and lack of proper line management. I was told to shut my mouth or look for another job - in exactly those words. The extra training I was promised never ever materialised - a new excuse every week.
But the biggest problem was that I had never worked in a place where so many people thought they could tell me what to do. It might not have been so bad if they'd got together and made their minds what they wanted - but it was a constant battle between contrasting instructions, usually preceeded by "I don't care what --- told you!". In among all that, what I saw in the way of dodgy contracts, patient miscare and plain criminality would fill a book.
When - inevitably - I got sick of the 10 chiefs and 5 indians syndrome, not to mention management by bullying and lying - I left. I included in my resignation that I had never ever worked in a place where the words "tell me what to do and I'll do it" were regarded as insubordination.
That was a few years ago. Ex-colleagues still in the system tell me it's since got worse. I can't imagine how that might be humanly possible.
This is a title
"Health watchdog the King's Fund reports that while the number of staff rose 35 per cent from 1999 to 2009 (to 1,117,000), the number of managers rose by 85 per cent."
And when the trusts need to save money they always fire the medical staff, preferably nurses. I bet you could sack 2 in 3 of the admin staff without lowering the quality of the medical care given.
Please don't get me started on the amount of paperwork I have to go through in my job. Even as a mere hearing aid technician, the sheer number of forms, referrals, re-referrals, stock sheets, target plans...
To quote someone I once knew: "I don't know if it's making us more efficient but it's certainly scaring the shit out of a lot of trees."