Ipswich Hospital: Hospital agrees with MP’s rap over levels of red tape

IPSWICH: Hospital chiefs have today admitted criticisms by an Ipswich MP of a “culture of paperwork and targets” getting in the way of patient care are fair.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter, who is a trained gynaecologist, blasted Ipswich Hospital’s management team for “focusing on paperwork rather than the patient”.

He said a culture of “management speak” had overtaken and resulted in patient care coming second as a priority.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals working at the trust in Heath Road are “bogged down” in endless reams of paperwork when their primary aim is to care for the patients, said Dr Poulter.

He said the problem was endemic in hospitals across the UK and throughout the NHS.

The claims come as Ipswich Hospital was found to be failing in their care of elderly patients by Care Quality Commission inspectors who visited the trust earlier this year.

The hospital was one of three hospitals of the 12 in the report found to be failing to meet legal standards and was given 28 days to improve.

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Siobhan Jordan, director of nursing and quality at the hospital, said: “I tend to agree that somewhere down the line the focus for clinical staff has increased in the requirements of them to complete pieces of paperwork and gathering information and due to that, unfortunately the perception is that it has been detrimental to patient care.”

She said measures have already been taken to reduce paperwork requirements on medical staff, focusing on recording information once, in one place.

Dr Poulter said: “There has been a culture at Ipswich and throughout the NHS about chasing targets which are completely divorced and bear no relation to actually treating the patients in front of you.

“It has become a culture of management speak and targets rather than one of actually looking after patients in front of you.

“There is nothing more important to hospitals than looking after patients but far too often doctors and nurses are bogged down by unnecessary paperwork created by management and seen by them as more important than the patient.

“Nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, midwives and other healthcare professionals want to spend their time focusing on the patient so the management culture of targets and paperwork must be broken.”

Ms Jordan said: “Part of the work I am doing is to focus the clinical work force towards what really matters, and I am reviewing paperwork and bureaucracy.

“Immediate action is under way to review all paperwork, we have streamlined it and we are trying to ensure when we record a piece of information that is only done once, in one place.

“I believe this will assist clinical staff who want to be at a computer filling out spread sheets.

“Staff tell me they don’t want to be telling me how many falls they have had this month, they want to be out stopping the falls.”

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