While doctors and nurses get most of the attention when it comes to NHS patient care, we shouldn't overlook the important role played by administrative staff. As a recent report from The King's Fund highlights, admin work might not be seen as glamorous, but it's essential to ensuring patients receive the best care possible. Emerging research also suggests that admin plays an important role in shaping patients’ experience of care. In this blog post, we'll explore why admin staff are so important to the running of the NHS and how they contribute to patient care.
Coordination and communication
One of the key roles played by admin staff in the NHS is coordination and communication. They are responsible for ensuring that all the different departments, doctors, and nurses involved in a patient's care are working together effectively. This can involve scheduling appointments, arranging transfers between hospitals, or ensuring that key information is shared between teams. Admin staff are often the first point of contact for patients and their families, and they play a crucial role in making sure that everyone is kept up-to-date and informed throughout the course of treatment.
Reducing waiting lists
By coordinating patients through the treatment pathway, including booking appointments, contacting patients and maintaining trust systems, admin staff ensure that clinical capacity is proactively and efficiently used, reducing waiting list times.
Quality of care
Admin staff are crucial to patient care because they help to ensure the quality of care that patients receive. By taking care of administrative tasks such as booking appointments and processing referrals, admin staff free up doctors and nurses to focus on delivering care. This means that medical professionals can spend more time with patients, providing personalised care and building better relationships. Admin staff also help to monitor patient outcomes, ensuring that treatments are effective and that any issues are identified and addressed quickly.
Empathy and support
While admin staff don't provide direct medical care to patients, they still play a key role in supporting patients and their families. Sometimes patients can feel overwhelmed by the complexity of navigating the NHS, and admin staff are often the first people they turn to for help and advice. Admin staff are trained to listen to patients' concerns and to provide empathy and support, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. This can be particularly important for vulnerable patients, such as those with mental health issues or learning disabilities.
Innovation and improvement
Admin staff are crucial to driving innovation and improvement within the NHS. Through their day-to-day work, they are in a unique position to identify areas where processes can be streamlined or improved. By working closely with medical professionals, they can provide valuable insights into how care can be made more efficient and effective. Furthermore, admin staff can help to develop new initiatives and programmes designed to improve patient care, such as digital systems to streamline administrative tasks or new appointment booking processes.
Supporting staff wellbeing
It's worth noting that admin staff play an important role in supporting the wellbeing of other NHS staff as well as patients. By taking care of administrative tasks, they help to reduce administrative burden and allow doctors and nurses to focus on delivering care. They also provide support and advice to other staff members, helping to build a sense of teamwork and community within the healthcare system.
Admin staff might not always get the recognition they deserve, but they play an essential role in patient care within the NHS. From coordinating care to providing empathy and support, they are an integral part of the system. As we move forward and look to improve patient outcomes and experiences, it's vital that we recognise the contributions made by admin staff and continue to support and invest in their work. By doing so, we can ensure that patients receive the highest quality care possible.
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