PRESS RELEASE: Royal Cornwall Hospital doctors will not put patients at risk



In an email sent to senior clinicians the Royal Cornwall has encouraged doctors to discharge patients before they are ready. This is despite the fact that the Trust has admitted these patients could come to harm, stating that this is a ‘proportionate risk’. The full email is available on request.


Whilst frontline doctors are all too aware of the pressures Trusts are under in the middle of a staffing crisis and a shortage of beds, doctors cannot stand by and watch patients being put at risk.


Three weeks ago, over 2000 doctors wrote to Boris Johnson in a letter co-ordinated by The Doctors’ Association UK, warning that without urgent change, the NHS would be heading into its worst winter crisis yet. These calls have gone unheeded. 


Dr Rinesh Parmar, Chair of The Doctors’ Association UK and an intensive care doctor said:


“We understand the extreme pressures that NHS Trusts are currently under. Doctors and other frontline staff have been speaking for months about how patients are coming to harm due to the crisis in the NHS. This crisis has not emerged overnight but on this government’s watch over the last decade. Now comes the revelation that an NHS Trust is asking doctors to take risks and discharge patients early, knowing that this may cause harm. This is morally repugnant and against the very fibre of what doctors stand for. We care for our patients and respect their dignity, not simply dispatching them early into the community to already over stretched struggling services. Our patients deserve better than these short-sighted ploys to generate beds at the expense of their health.”


Dr Jenny Vaughan, Law and Policy Officer and Learn Not Blame Lead at The Doctors’ Association UK said:


“Lack of beds in NHS hospitals should not mean that patient safety is compromised. We are in a crisis at present, both in our hospitals and in community care. Sadly, if and when something goes wrong as a result of the pressure on already over-worked frontline staff, it’s not the managers who end up in the firing line. Patients and staff should not be paying the price for lack of available bed capacity in our hospitals”



1.     The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) is a trade association for UK doctors. Run by frontline NHS doctors, DAUK campaigns for patients and the NHS as well as advocating for the medical profession. DAUK has been vocal on patient safety issues and has consistently campaigned for safe staffing levels.