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Health Staff: 'We are Stressed and There Aren't Enough of Us'

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:00am 6th February 2013 (Updated 11:33am 6th February 2013)

Staff at Cornwall's out of hours doctors are stressed and working seven hours straight without a break.

Inspectors have ordered Serco to take action warning there is a chance patients safety is being put at risk.

A report, seen by Pirate FM says sometimes there is not a GP on duty at the Truro call centre.

One member of staff told teams from the Care Quality Commision "there are not enough of us."

The service has not been answering patients' calls quickly enough for more than six months, despite previous warnings about staff shortages.

Managers say a GP does not necessarily need to be on duty at the call centre so long as one was on call.

Kelly from Truro saw her eleven week old baby rushed to A&E after waiting for five hours to see someone out of hours. She said: "If we hadn't taken him to A&E when we did the nurses say the outcome would have been a lot different from what it was now.

"He was going almost a blue colour. He just couldn't catch his breath. He was all wired up and had to be fed through a tube. He spent three days on High Dependency and seven days in total in hospital."

Inspectors launched an unannounced inspection in December have ordered Serco to explain how it is going to fix the problems by 27th February.

They found the service was meeting four other standards including respecting and involving patients and assessing and monitoring the quality.

Dr Louis Warren, Director of Services for Serco, said: "We're now in a position that actually the people of Cornwall can be confident in the service they are getting. This is already demonstrated in terms of the clinical capacity, and our ability to see them face to face, and I think in the coming months, our ability to answer them witihn sixty seconds will also be the case.

Dr Warren also insisted recruitment was already underway. He said: "We've already increased that number to fifty. And we have a process in place, with recruitment and training, that over the coming months that will increase by another eighteen. I'm confident that that will put us in a position that we will be able to meet the standards, in terms of answering calls in a timely fashion."

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