Intended for healthcare professionals

Medical Practice

Outpatients: can we save time and reduce waiting lists?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 30 April 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:1247
  1. M Duncan,
  2. K Beale,
  3. J Parry,
  4. R A Miller


    The amount of time that one consultant urologist wasted on unnecessary administration while seeing outpatients was noted over six weeks. Searching for missing clinical data and the time spent on non-medical clerical tasks took up nearly half of the consultant's sessions. This seemed to be due to insufficient clerical and secretarial staff. Because low salaries are offered to such staff vast sums of money are being paid to agencies who are providing an appreciable number (40%) of the secretarial staff in our hospitals.

    Urgent action from the government is needed to remedy this and thus make substantial reductions in outpatient waiting lists nationally. It would greatly improve morale in this important sector of the health service without increasing total costs.

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