April 15, 2007

UK hospitals mulling outsourcing work to India

Some of the hospitals in the UK are planning to outsource medical secretarial work to India. Among them is Southport and Ormskirk Hospital, which is battling to reduce 15 million pounds deficit and is considering outsourcing its doctors' digital dictations to India.

It said the state-aided National Health Service is looking at a range of options, including outsourcing doctors' digital dictations, a move stiffly opposed by the local MP and the union representing medical secretaries.

"It sounds like this idea came from the deranged brains of management consultants," Southport MP John Pugh said.

"I sincerely hope that they retain the service locally because there will be all sorts of communication problems both for clinicians and patients. The only merit is cost-saving, which is probably not going to be associated with increased efficiency. It sounds like false economy and bad for staff morale," he added.

Kathy Perkins, Chairman, British Society of Medical Secretaries warned that moving medical secretaries' services abroad could lead to patient deaths.

"Inevitably, there will in due course, be the death of a patient directly attributable to the wrongful interpretation of crucial word or drug dosage by an outsourced worker unfamiliar with the language or terminology," she claimed.

"By then the damage will be done. The majority of medical secretaries will either have been made redundant or will have left the service through low morale, no job satisfaction or retirement," Perkins said.

Clare Vattev, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust business manager, said "The Trust is currently reviewing its secretarial functions with a view to improving both the efficiency and timeliness of its communications.

"As part of this work we will be looking at a number of options and the use of digital dictation and outsourced transcribing may be considered.

"A project group has been formed to consider all aspects of the process and the group will consider the effect of any proposals on the roles of staff currently involved in the production of clinical letters."

She said, "The project is still at a very early stage and no decisions have been made. Staff will be kept fully informed of any developments."

No comments:



Related Posts with Thumbnails