Clinician Burnout and Its Impact on Patient Safety

16th September 2021

Dr Kit Latham, former A&E doctor and co-founder of healthcare recruitment software provider Credentially, discusses the issues causing clinician burnout and how technology can help to reform excess bureaucracy and strengthen patient safety.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all

– Peter Drucker, Austrian-American educator


The NHS is frequently criticised for its bureaucracy. It is a fragmented and complex organisation which, despite national efforts to centralise governance and reduce the bureaucratic burden, still operates with a huge overhead. In fact, it has been reported that NHS doctors and nurses spend up to 10 hours a week on paperwork, with around a ⅓ of this not relevant to patient care (Source: NHS Confed).

Inefficient use of time due to administrative requirements is often cited as a significant contributing factor to clinician burnout. Daily, clinicians carry out time consuming paperwork including tasks such as lengthy appraisal processes and are required to undergo unnecessary bureaucracy to meet the fast paced demands within the healthcare industry.

Pre-Covid, a survey developed by the British Medical Association reported that 80% of doctors in 2019 were at high or very high risk of burnout, with junior doctors most at risk, followed by general practitioners.(Source: Kings Fund). This has only been exacerbated by the pressures put on the healthcare system during the pandemic.

The impact of clinician burnout is significant for the individual experiencing it, with poor mental and physical health often leading to emotional exhaustion and a breakdown of interpersonal relationships. This impact also extends beyond the individual into the healthcare setting they work, and with a direct correlation between clinician burnout and patient safety, quality of care can be adversely affected by increased medical errors, increased risk of malpractice and reduced patient satisfaction. It is therefore essential that we start to see systematic change to combat this burnout epidemic.

Fast forward to 2021, and with the global spotlight on key workers, frontline staff and healthcare professionals, the Health and Social Care Secretary of State announced a new drive to empower healthcare professionals by reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and locking in positive change seen during the pandemic.

This announcement comes as the Department of Health and Social Care is encouraged to move forward with the plans to build on the positive processes learnt in the pandemic, increasing high-quality care and revolutionising out of date practices and procedures. Those steps include:

●     Healthcare teams spending less time on paperwork and more time with their patients.

●     Medical staff appraisals to be processed more efficiently, by putting an end to lengthy paperwork and ensuring a more meaningful assessment of professional development and progress.

●     Modernising outdated and prescriptive professional regulation, including reforming the legislation which governs specialist doctors, including GPs, from outside the UK who want to work in the NHS.

●     The General Medical Council will adopt different, more flexible routes to registration while still assuring the same high standards of knowledge, experience and skills, reducing duplication and repetitive data requests which can take up a huge amount of frontline staff’s time.

How can Credentially help your team to reform excess bureaucracy and strengthen patient safety?

Credentially provides hiring, onboarding and compliance software which enables healthcare professionals to enhance their efficiency and effortlessly stay on top of changes in demand for clinical staff. Our platform will enable you to:

●     Hire faster

●     Reduce admin

●     Master compliance

●     Conduct meaningful assessments and staff appraisals

●     Simplify and manage inductions, training and credential checking of new staff

Most importantly, our recruitment software will allow your team to spend more quality time with their patients. Finding solutions to deal with clinical burnout will reduce medical errors, and enhance staff wellbeing.

If you are interested in understanding how Credentially can help your team to tackle clinician burnout and maintain healthy workplace cultures, improve efficiency and reduce paperwork, contact our friendly team of professionals today by calling 020 3882 2620 or email at sales@credentially.io


Discover More about Credentially

Founded in 2016 by former A&E Doctor, Kit Latham, and Software Engineer, Artem Stalpouski, Credentially is redefining inefficient and costly hiring processes with innovative credentialing software that automates the recruitment, onboarding, and compliance of healthcare workers. With a focus on candidate experience and organisational efficiencies, Credentially’s mission is to save critical hours for healthcare providers and the NHS. Credentially’s customers take as little as 10 days to sign-up, validate and onboard clinicians compared to an industry average of 128 days.

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