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Out-of-hours concerns highlighted by report

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A confidential report into the out-of-hours services in the Southern Health Trust has highlighted numerous concerns regarding the way that it operates. One GP described going to work as “walking into hell”, with the out-of-hours service accommodating a culture of threats and harassment, and poor patient safety. The information was gathered in a series of workshops which spoke to 32 out-of-hours doctors. The workshops aimed to assess the overall opinion and morale of the staff involved in the service.

The report highlighted a desperate lack of leadership and a worrying lack of vision for the future of the service. One participant in the report described the staffing situation as “catastrophic” as services continue to see cuts. Words used to describe the out-of-hours management included “remote” and “unapproachable”.

‘Bullying culture’

The report also found that some doctors are paid an “enhancement” to work on short notice, while a lack of doctors is a key area of concern. The report was only published this week, and will now be considered to look at how improvements can be made.

The report was leaked to the BBC and makes “embarrassing” reading for NHS managers. While morale was very low, a “bullying culture” was also recognsied as a key problem in the service. 

One GP said: “We waste more time ringing round trying to get doctors when we could be seeing patients.

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