Paper mountain

Having recently undergone major surgery at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre, I have found myself wondering about two particular things.

The first is how on earth they manage to do their work with such a dearth of nurses. The second is the reason for the paper mountain.

Five years ago, wards seemed to me to be reasonably well staffed and the reason for the occasional questionnaire was plain.

Now, nurses are run off their feet, ending their working day exhausted. They simply do not have the time to look after patients as they would wish because there are not enough of them to cover routine and time-consuming major cases. The difference in five years is staggering.

It was the paperwork that got to me. From the moment of arrival in pre-ops, one is filling in forms, some asking exactly the same questions only phrased differently. Some so badly worded, help had to be sought from visitors. A form is the first thing one has to deal with on arrival for surgery.


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The paper theme is carried through one’s stay in hospital and, so help me, when one gets home. Bless me, if there isn’t a form to fill in some weeks after surgery!

Today, during post-op, I asked anyone who would listen about all this paperwork. Half jokingly, I opined that maybe there was a bored clerk somewhere in the basement passing time printing up tedious, ultimately useless, questionnaires. I wasn’t too surprised to receive the knowing nods and winks in response.

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For goodness sake! How much does all this paperwork and the time taken cost? The pay of some more badly needed nurses, maybe?

Ann Prior

(via email).

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