Letters The paperless NHS

Try out the paperless NHS when doctors change jobs in the NHS

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f946 (Published 19 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f946
  1. Jennifer M Roycroft, specialty registrar in anaesthetics1
  1. 1Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, St Mary’s Hospital, London W2 1NY, UK
  1. m0100727{at}doctors.org.uk

Every August, thousands of junior doctors rotate jobs. For some of us it occurs even more often. Usually, it involves a change of hospital, colleagues, job description, commute, and even accommodation, all of which is stressful. It also brings a mountain of paperwork, which is sent out 7-10 days before starting the job and requires urgent completion, despite the placement having been confirmed months before.

Today, in between night shifts, I filled in 15 different forms for my new employer, all of which I completed in different guises six months ago for a different trust. I also have to provide numerous documents to back up the data on the forms, all while surviving a relentless run of night shifts on intensive care.

I have had an NHS smartcard for four years and an NHS data card for six, but neither has ever been used by trusts to transfer my personal or professional data. Why can’t we sign a single form each time we are due to change jobs, under proof of identity, which allows our former NHS trust to electronically share our payroll details, occupational health details, and security checks? The saving of time, money, and paper would be enormous.

The aim of a paperless NHS by 2015 is an admirable goal.1 However, if NHS trusts cannot go paperless for the thousands of junior doctors in training jobs that rotate in a predictable way each year, how will it cope with the millions of unpredictable patients?


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f946


  • Competing interests: None declared.