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Doctors told to use 'least unsafe' option in Norwich hospital

An NHS hospital has been so overwhelmed that it told senior doctors to make “the least unsafe decision” when treating patients.

Medical groups have voiced concern that Norfolk and Norwich hospital trust’s instruction to its consultants this week showed it was struggling so much to cope with the number of people needing care that patient safety was being put at risk.

At the time the hospital had no spare beds, a full accident and emergency department, 35 patients waiting on trolleys to be admitted, and had declared a major internal incident.

In its message, seen by the Guardian, it said: “We would like you to know that the trust will support you in making difficult decisions that may be the least unsafe decision, and we would appreciate your cooperation over the coming days with this.”

The circular from the Norwich hospital added: “We are facing our most challenging situation with our trust today,” because it was so overcrowded and unable to find a bed for the 35 patients doctors had decided needed to be admitted as emergencies.

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Source: The Guardian, 20 December 2019


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