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Nurses time wasted looking for equipment

16th February 2009

A survey has suggested that over one third of nurses misuse "up to two hours per shift" looking for misplaced medical devices.

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This works out at 40 hours per month and means that £900 million of NHS salary every year is spent on the search for lost keys, mattresses and other equipment.

The survey interviewed 989 nurses and found that almost all of them had wasted 'up to an hour" looking for equipment. Over one third had spent between one hour and six hours searching for devices.

The survey was done for the information standards group GS1 UK and the Nursing Times.

They said the use of bar codes could help to organise and find equipment. Nurses could scan devices for use around hospitals and then find them by tracking them by computer.

90% of nurses said they would be willing to use this method to find lost or misplaced equipment.

Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, said: "The survey shows there is a problem. Nurses are wasting time trying to find missing equipment. We believe bar code systems could free up nurses' time to care for patients."

Over 50% of nurses said they searched for items themselves, while nearly a quarter asked for help from colleagues. A mere 1% used computer-aided systems to aid in their search.

Janet Davies, of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Nurses should be free to nurse, so it is crucial that employers look into this research and make sure that their systems are as effective for patients as they can be."

 

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