Hospital consultant labels patient’s treatment as “very poor”


A consultant at a hospital where a patient died after waiting five hours to see a doctor today told an inquest his treatment had been ”unacceptable” and ”very poor”.

Tragic Roland Holbrow, 87, died of natural causes without seeing a doctor – five hours after he was checked in to Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, Somerset, at 7.15pm on August 14.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Stuart Walker said a review into Mr Holbrow’s death would bring about changes to the way patients were seen.

This included altering the ‘traffic light system’ – which grades a patients’ risk – so increased checks can update their condition.

Dr Walker told the court: ”In this case what happened to Mr Holbrow was unacceptable and very poor – clearly the system did fail.

”We have launched a serious untoward incident review as a result of Mr Holbrow’s death.

”The resulting action plan will be given serious scrutiny to see how we can stop this happening again.

”This will include improving doctor communication during the handover process. We will also review infection control procedures.

”If patients go to siderooms for infection control, they will be automatically detected as high risk, to ensure this does not happen again.”

Dr Walker also told the court pressure from the European Workers Directive on the working hours of junior doctors made it increasingly complex to create shift plans.

He said: ”The European directive undoubtedly has an affect on medical training and practise in the UK.

”There is no surplus of junior doctors, who can testify about me harranging them into shifts.

”But I believe there are financial penalties if the doctors are overworked. They are flexible as they can possibly be.”

Somerset Coroner Michael Rose said Dr Walker’s job must be like trying to make a pint from half a pint.

The hearing in Taunton yesterday (fri) heard how ten patients, including Mr Holbrow, were waiting to be seen by the two doctors on duty.

But the court heard one was called down to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department, before Mr Holbrow could be seen.


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