Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Paperless target appears to slip further out of reach

The NHS’ ambition towards achieving a 'paperlight' office by 2023 is highly commendable and will lead to a more efficient service and sustainable health service. However, according to Kyocera Document Solutions UK, the NHS must avoid a ‘rip-and-replace’ approach to digitalisation and instead implement a phased model that gradually changes employees’ attitudes towards printing and document management.


According to Digital Health's annual NHS IT Leadership Survey 2019, which exclusively surveys the priorities of local NHS digital leaders, 65% of respondents identified moving towards paperless working as a key focus for the NHS. This signified recognition across the NHS of the need to reduce carbon footprint and become more sustainable and efficient. 


However, confidence in the ability to achieve the paperlight targets set for the NHS is on a downward trajectory. In 2016, Jeremy Hunt introduced a paper-free by 2020 target, at which time Digital Health reported 69% of IT leaders thought this could be met. This latest leadership survey reveals only 28% believe this is achievable (down from 41% in the 2018 survey), whilst 20% are not confident about achieving paperlight by 2023.


Rod Tonna-Barthet, President at Kyocera Document Solutions UK, recommends the process of achieving paperlight should involve sustainability training, print control software and even gamification in the form of rewards for individuals and departments who are succeeding in their paper reduction targets.


“A paperlight organisation can result in huge efficiency increases, with administrative overheads minimised and productivity per employee increased. By implementing a phased method of paper reduction, gradually changing culture and attitudes so all staff fully support the reasons for going paperlight and adapt their behaviour, this will be much easier to achieve."


For the second consecutive year, top priority in the survey was revealed as interoperability (78% of respondents ranked it in first place), whilst 74% identified clinical engagement and 67% recognised the importance of securing a reliable, resilient and secure infrastructure.