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Less Time On Paperwork Means Healthier Patients

Less Time On Paperwork Means Healthier Patients And Happier Doctors - Gps

Spending less time meeting the demands of bureaucrats and more time seeing patients would result not only in increased health but happier doctors, says the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners.

Commenting on the Deloittes report on sustainable costings for general practice, College President Dr Helen Rodenburg pointed to the 35.7% of time the study says GPs spend on "non patient contact" activities. This does not include time spent on their own education and other professional development work.

This includes things such as correspondence, liaising with funders, and managing staff. "For Practice Nurses the figure is even higher - 65.2% of their time is spent doing something other than dealing directly with patients," Dr Rodenburg says, "though the non-contact activities reported for nurses do include some things with health benefits such as health promotion and education.

"But if the bureaucrats reduced their demands for paper, both GPs and Practice Nurses could spend more of their day with patients. In some cases that would mean a patient who needed a longer consultation would get one - perhaps to deal with preventative care rather than just the illness they presented with. That means health gains for the practice population.

"And it would also mean GPs could spend that time seeing a greater number of patients - reducing the doctor shortage in some areas and meaning more efficient and productive use of the doctor's time. That means happier doctors, which means we'd have less trouble retaining experienced GPs and attracting new ones - all at no cost to anyone except the various government agencies who seem to thrive on shuffling paper."


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