Hancock launches NHS 'bureaucracy busting' drive to improve staff wellbeing

GPs and other NHS staff will be asked by to highlight burdensome red tape that could be scrapped as part of a government 'bureaucracy busting' drive that aims to improve staff wellbeing.

Health secretary Matt Hancock (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Health secretary Matt Hancock (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said that the COVID-19 pandemic had 'proved there's bureaucracy that our healthcare system can do better without'. He urged GPs and other staff to speak out about pointless red tape in a forthcoming 'call for evidence'.

As an example, the DHSC said that changes to revalidation that were introduced during the pandemic 'should be maintained and built upon' and that virtual GMC hearings should also be retained as these save time for those being investigated or giving evidence.

This follows an announcement from NHS England earlier this month that work is underway to redesign the current appraisal process by shifting to a more supportive approach with reduced administrative requirements.

NHS People Plan

The call for evidence was launched alongside part of the long-awaited People Plan, which sets out measures to boost staff wellbeing, recruitment and retention and tackle discrimination in the coming year.

The DHSC said that its bureaucracy busting drive and the People Plan would 'work together to find and promote positive changes made before and during the pandemic'. Under the plan NHS England intends to set up banks of GPs 'working flexibly' across local areas to help build on the flexible working that had developed a a result of COVID-19.

As part of this year's GP contract deal, the government had already promised an overhaul of bureacracy in general practice in a bid to cut the unsustainable workload facing the profession.

Cutting red tape

More recently, both the BMA and the RCGP have demanded major rethink on CQC inspections in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out that reduced regulation during the outbreak has made general practice 'doable' again.

Mr Hancock said: 'Every single person working in the NHS has contributed to an unprecedented national effort to beat back this virus and save lives. They have protected us and in return this government will do everything in its power to protect and support them.

'By making the NHS the best place to work we’ll recruit and retain more talent and deliver 50,000 more nurses, 6,000 more doctors in general practice and 26,000 staff primary care professionals.

'Our NHS people deserve to get on with caring for patients and this crisis has proved there’s bureaucracy that our healthcare system can do better without. So I’m urging people across the NHS and social care to speak up about what red tape you can do without to allow you to better deliver the high quality care you are renowned for.'

The consultation runs until 13 September and GPs can take part here.

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