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Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to maximise the amount of time nurses spend on directly caring for patients; (138640)

(2) what plans she has to minimise the paperwork which needs to be completed by nurses as part of their duties;

(3) what estimate she has made of the proportion of time spent on a shift by a nurse who was assigned to (a) administrative work and (b) caring duties in (i) 1997 and (ii) the latest date for which figures are available.

No estimates have been made centrally. Nurses work in teams of nursing staff of different grades as well as being members of multi-disciplinary teams. They will spend differing time on patient care according to their roles and responsibilities in the team.

The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is working with the National Health Service Institute for Innovation and Improvement and the Royal College of Nursing to promote the spread of good practice being generated by the productive ward programme. The programme will remove processes that distract nurses and will help staff reorganise wards so that the focus is on needs of patients and on easing the workload generated by some activities.

The report of the programme, “Releasing Time to Care: Productive Ward”, was released by the CNO in April and aims to promote greater efficiency so that more nursing time is released for direct patient care.