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I’m adding to my workload – it’s the only hope of reducing it



I’ve been very tired recently. Maybe I’m anaemic. If so, I can say for sure it’s not the result of irony deficiency.

Because in just the last few days I’ve been on the receiving end of both NHS England’s audit of unnecessary appointments and survey on reducing bureaucracy, and the BMA’s novella ‘Quality First: managing workload to deliver safe patient care’.

I’ve put them on a pile of other stuff. You know, that pile of ‘things to do’ that can be seen from space. I’ll get round to them when I’ve got through all the other more pressing ‘things to do’ – when I’m dead, probably.

In other words, as all the rest of you are doubtless also silently screaming, we’re just too busy to record how busy we are, or to read how we might de-busy ourselves. Hilarious, innit?

Nevertheless, I have managed to (speed) read the BMA’s booklet and, in fairness, a scan of the top-lines suggests it’s a pretty good crack at achieving the impossible – defining the many and varied forms of daily torture we endure, and suggesting ways we might catch breath between patients/paperwork. Plus it even manages to be quite practical, with its cut-out-and-keep piss-off-and-leave-us-alone suggested letter pro formas in the appendix.

And if all else fails, weighing in at 42 pages, we can always chuck it at the punters.

I’ve also had a crack at the NHS England reducing bureaucracy survey – which I did in a hurry, in an attempt to reduce bureaucracy. Only problem is, having totted up all the hours I spend wading through treacle, turns out I appear to be working a 500-hour week.

This rather begs the question of how accurate the survey will turn out to be. But it does explain why I’m knackered.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield