Two junior doctors left to care for more than 400 patients in one night, report reveals

Two junior doctors were left to care for more than 400 patients at a Plymouth hospital during a night shift, a report has revealed.

The pressures on staffing at the Derriford Hospital came to light in an anonymous concern raised by a doctor who said the situation was a “very unsafe shift from the patient perspective”.

The report was published as part of the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust board papers from July, and said the doctor was pulled from a breast surgery day job at 11am to be asked to cover medical nights.

The issue was raised on May 23, and the report said: “Told on the phone that the deputy medical director had talked to my consultant and said I must do this, as there would otherwise only be a single SHO (senior house officer) looking after all of the medical patients in the hospital.

“After discussion with my consultant we reluctantly agreed that the best measure from a patient safety perspective would be for me to attend this shift, despite it being unsafe and bad for my personal training/development. Unfortunately, I did not manage much sleep before coming in for the night due to the short notice.

“Between myself and the other SHO on ward cover we were responsible for the care of 436 patients between the two of us, while carrying the crash bleep which covers the whole hospital.”

Full story in The Independent, 18 September 2017