All the work I do is recorded on databases. Every visit, form completed, review, assessment – even some telephone conversations (if they are over 10 minutes and can be deemed to have some kind of ‘therapeutic value’ – so not the ‘Can I arrange a time to visit?’ telephone calls.. ).
These figures are all counted towards local government and NHS targets. That’s why I input on two systems – one local authority and one National Health. Meeting targets means money – basically. In my office we even have little signs up randomly in different rooms and in the kitchen reminding us of this fact! (things to consider while making cups of tea.. ).
I find it a bit tedious but it isn’t something I have a massive issue with. I find it doesn’t take up too much of my time – if I don’t have time to input my weeks’ figures on my last hour on a Friday, I’ll tend to do it on my first hour on Monday and a week can more or less be inputted in an hour. The actual inputting I don’t mind as much as the fact that I need to! But that’s another story for another day..
We are given ‘targets’ of how much ‘work’ we need to complete in a given week and I find it very easy to justify all the way I spend my time in the working week.
In the last office I worked in we even had to complete little weekly charts justifying every minute of our time but the atmosphere there was a lot more controlling in general and it is not wholly unconnected to the reason I don’t work there anymore..
Anyway, all my time is counted in these databases currently, except time spent with carers – well, there is some allowance on the local authority systems but as far as the NHS system is concerned – any visit, discussion, interaction, work undertaken with a carer is just not ‘work’.
Again, I don’t feel too strongly about it as I don’t have to justify my time to a software programme and certainly within the team I work there is no question that working with and liaising with carers is a massive part of the working week.
Its just that sometimes we have financial people come from the head office to ask why our figures are so low..and warn us of the potential of cuts to our services if we continue in this way.
Its become very clear this week as I seem to have spent a lot of my time with carers recently. Providing information, support, visits, carers assessments.
None of this was recorded though, so according to the databases and figures, I might as well have just left work early on a few of those days – and more than anything that’s what annoys me.
It seems to be an issue that affects the over 65s teams more than the younger adult CMHTs as we are always compared unfavourably to them regarding our ‘work’ completed.
I don’t really mind having my work classified and counted and justified – I am paid with public money and as long as it doesn’t impede the work I feel I need to do then it doesn’t really affect me really but only if it is a fair representation – which it isn’t at present.
So although its not something I rage about – as far as I’m concerned there are far more important things to focus on if I want to rage.. it just irritates me from time to time..