A 12-week consultation into the proposal to rid the NHS of 'unnecessary' data collections kicks off today (30 August).
Plans to reduce NHS 'red tape' by cutting up to 25% of all current data returns commissioned by the Department of Health (DH) and associated bodies is predicted to result in a reduction in burden of approximately £10m.
The proposal aims to redistribute administrative and clerical resources to better support frontline patient care.
More than 300 separate data collections commissioned by the DH and its 'arms length bodies' were assessed as to how they impact on and improve patient and clinical care.
Patient groups, research organisations, academic institutions and NHS trusts are now being asked for their views on proposals to streamline data collections across health and social care.
"Meaningful information is the lifeblood of the NHS. 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," said Anne Milton, health minister.
"This is why we want to cut red tape in the NHS so that staff can focus on what matters most – improving frontline care and services for patients."
The consultation builds on the NHS white paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, in which the government outlines plans to undertake a fundamental review of data returns.
Following the consultation period, a second phase of work is expected to be carried out to examine how remaining data returns can be rationalised.
"Isn't this a case of saying one thing and doing another? The demands for information just keep rising; as fast as one set of information is discarded another two (or more) requests take their place and I really do not think it will change. Fewer 'headline' demands perhaps but the devil, as always, will be in the detail with more sub criteria to meet. Govt is getting more intrusive in all aspects of our lives that will not change without a major political rethink" – Name and address withheld