Nurses spend more than a million hours every week on paperwork which prevents them from frontline care, research has revealed.
Eight in 10 (88%) of the 1,700 nurses questioned found that non-essential paperwork such as filing, photocopying and ordering supplies, had increased over the past five years yet only one-fifth had seen an increase in administrative support in their workplace to help meet this demand.
Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Nurses are clearly feeling the burden of non-essential paperwork. The danger is that this is undermining their ability to care for patients and support relatives.”
He added that non-essential tasks should be carried out by clerical staff and called for an increase in the number of ward clerks and other clerical support roles.
The nurses union has urged NHS employers to review administrative processes and improve ways of working to maximise the amount of time nurses spend on clinical care.
Carter added: “We know that the money needed to fund this support is available to the NHS right now. The government could use just some of last year’s £2bn NHS surplus to free up nurses from non-essential paperwork, so that they can spend every minute of their shift providing quality patient care.”