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Busting Bureaucracy - how acute trusts can help

September 9, 2013

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is undertaking a collaborative audit of data collection in acute trusts as part of the 'busting bureaucracy' challenge set by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt at this year's NHS Confederation annual conference. Up to 50 trusts, of differing size, complexity, regional location and with a range of maturity of electronic information systems are needed to participate during September and October.

The audit will concentrate initially on front line care in three areas: A&E, maternity and stroke services. It will also look at datasets submitted nationally and to commissioners. Both the questionnaires and visits will investigate how nationally required collections fit with local ones. They will also examine a nationally recognised patient pathway as well as a local one.

Reducing the burden of collection and validation of data will have a high impact for clinical staff, freeing their time and enabling them to focus on delivering direct care to their patients. By helping with the audit trusts will ensure they shape a future which carries less burden of repetitive and overlapping data input.

The audit feeds into the Government's wider work programme on reducing bureaucracy in the NHS as part of its response to the Francis report. It will complement and build on the NHS Confederation's bureaucracy review, which is currently examining ways to reduce the burden from national bodies on providers of NHS care and how the NHS can get the best value from the information available to it.

Trusts interested in helping with the HSCIC challenge should contact the Busting Bureaucracy Challenge on 0300 303 5678 or email:

The results of the audit will be published during October and a conference arranged in the autumn to launch a 'let's bust bureaucracy together' campaign. The shared understandings will form the basis for the proposals which will emerge during the autumn.

Chair of the HSCIC, Kingsley Manning, said:

"This is an exciting opportunity for those working in acute trusts to bust bureaucracy. By joining this audit they will shape the future of data collection, making sure that nurses and doctors' time is focused on patients, rather than form filling. Avoiding repetitive and overlapping collections will gain the support of medical and nursing staff, who are most comfortable spending time providing data when they can see how it directly impacts on the quality of the treatments and care they offer.

"I urge acute trusts to offer their support for this audit which will significantly change how we extract meaningful information from patient pathways and free up front-line time."

Mike Farrar, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

"Information and data are vital to ensuring our NHS provides the best care possible. They allow us to monitor our improvements and raise the alarm when things go wrong. In order to be as effective as possible they must be used in the right way, and currently it's clear that we can do more to use information to the best of its ability.

"The HSCIC's work, coupled with our own review, should provide a clear framework to help the NHS and the wider system streamline processes, free up more staff time for patient care and most importantly improve the care we provide."


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