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Serco out of hours service in Cornwall was understaffed, finds watchdog

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4921 (Published 19 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4921
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

The private company Serco employed too few doctors and failed to train its staff sufficiently to protect patients using the out of hours service it operates in Cornwall, the health and social care watchdog in England has found.1

During Easter weekend last year three doctors worked double shifts of 13 hours through the night, and four worked 11 hour daytime shifts because Serco had been unable to employ sufficient staff, found the Care Quality Commission. Doctors’ drivers worked similar hours.

At other times GPs shifts were unfilled, leading to a slower service, and GPs were taken off home visits to take telephone calls to the call centre, something …

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