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NHS staff work ‘harder’ and have ‘less time with patients’ since reforms

Almost 80% of NHS workers say their job has become harder since last year’s healthcare reforms, with a worrying 50% reporting ‘less time with patients’, a survey conducted by the Guardian newspaper has revealed.

The survey of over 1,000 GPs, consultants, nurses, strategy and policy managers at NHS trusts and NHS England revealed 77% say their job has become harder since the 1 April 2013 reforms, with only 5% disagreeing. Meanwhile, half of the respondents said they have less time with patients compared with before the changes and only 6% said they had more time.

Questioned about the notion set out before the 2012 Act that reforms would ‘liberate’ the NHS from political interference, a vast majority disagreed that this had happened, with 79% stating there is currently too much political interference. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt enjoyed the confidence of only 6% of survey respondents, compared to 78% who said they have no confidence.

The raging debate about online patient records – highly relevant to GPs – also featured in the survey, with 61% supporting a database of patient records but only 56% that would be prepared to include their own medical history in the database.

A Department of Health spokesperson responded: ‘The health secretary recognises the extremely hard work of NHS staff but makes no apology for pushing for greater transparency and higher standards for patients.’