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Report finds worrying A&E doctor shortage

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A report into the standards of care at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton has revealed a worrying lack of senior doctors in the accident and emergency department during the night and over weekends. The inspection was carried out at the hospital in September: a hospital with 700 beds, 30 wards and 15 operating theatres.

Even though inspectors deemed the hospital “safe”, with most of the patients being happy with the care being provided, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) highlighted many areas where improvements were necessary. One area that was particularly suffering from staff shortages was amongst older people, many of which have dementia. Staff shortages seemed to be preventing older patients from receiving the care and emotional support they require.  

The report also included a worrying finding that in some departments ‘do not attempt resuscitation’ forms were not always completed fully, which could lead to unsuitable decisions being made on behalf of patients. 

Lack of specialist care

In terms of shortages of senior doctors, the report found that this was affecting the quality of medical decisions being made with patient handovers also being affected. With hospitals across the country seeing increasing numbers of emergencies, the pressure at Musgrove Park Hospital saw some incoming patients not being transferred to the correct specialist ward, resulting in a lack of specialist care being provided.

The report finally highlighted that for patients with poor English skills, this was not indicated on their patient information and some patients in surgery had to wait for the opinion of a senior surgeon – causing delays.

The chief executive of the hospital, Jo Cubbon, said that changes would certainly be made following the findings.

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