Nurses are "drowning in a sea of paperwork" According to the RCN

Nurses are being prevented from caring for their patients because they are drowning in a sea of paperwork, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

A survey of 6,000 of its members suggests more than one sixth of the working week is now taken up doing non-essential tasks like filing, photocopying and ordering supplies. Most reported the amount of paperwork was getting worse and was now stopping them providing direct patient care. The survey, which was released on the eve of the start of the RCN's annual conference on Monday in Liverpool, also found more than a quarter of nurses said their workplace did not have a ward clerk or administrative assistant to help with clerical duties.

Janet Davies from the RCN said administrative work "takes time away from the patients" she spoke to BBC Breakfast News on Sunday alongside Mike Farrar from the NHS Confederation, who has been tasked with leading a government review into the situation.

Mr Farrar said: "We recognise very much the survey and we are concerned about it. I think it's critical that we make sure our staff have got the maximum amount of time to be with our patients. We're still doing far too much on paper, far too much duplication and it really is taking away the time nurses could have with patients."

RCN’s Chief Executive and General Secretary Peter Carter said: "These figures prove what a shocking amount of a nurse's time is being wasted on unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy, yes, some paperwork is essential and nurses will continue to do this, but patients want their nurses by their bedside, not ticking boxes."

The union's Janet Davies said: "Ordering supplies and ordering food is a terrible waste of a nurse's salary and nursing skills when actually you could have an admin assistant doing that routine work."

Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: "David Cameron is cutting the NHS front line and wasting billions on a chaotic re-organisation, leaving hospitals to operate without enough staff. Now form-filling is taking nurses away from their patients for longer and longer."

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