By Max Clarke

The Health Minister has announced a scrapping of unnecessary, back office data collections across the NHS in a bid to trim red tape and divert needed cash to the front lines.

The move comes ahead of the amended Health and Social Care Bill, which is to be discussed again in parliament. The Bill has proved highly controversial, with campaigners angered by the increase in private sector involvement effectively channelling taxpayer money to private companies’ profits.

A 12 week consultation starting today proposes that up to 25% of all current data returns commissioned by the Department of Health and its arms length bodies should be discontinued. This would lead to a reduction in burden on the NHS of approximately £10million.

“Meaningful information is the lifeblood of the NHS,” said Public Health Minister, Anne Milton. “The data we collect must be of real value to help us improve patient outcomes, patient choice and clinical decisions. We know that some of the data that is being gathered is of limited use, taking up valuable staff time and resources.”

Over 300 separate data collections commissioned by the Department of Health and its arms length bodies were assessed as to how they impact on and improve patient and clinical care.

The NHS Information Centre’s Chief Executive, Tim Straughan commented: “High-quality, relevant and up-to-date information is essential to enable the NHS to deliver the best possible care for patients. The purpose of this review is to make sure we collect data that can make a real impact in helping to improve care while stopping data returns that are no longer needed and only continue for historical reasons.

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