"Concerned about over-tired staff"

About: Victoria Infirmary / Geriatric Assessment

(as a relative),

My mum was an inpatient in the New Victoria Hospital for rehabilitation. I saw a doctor get called to see another patient who seemed really tired. I later spoke to a nurse about it and who said that the doctors who cover overnight all have day jobs doing research and are sometimes actually employed by the university in Glasgow and that in fact they are mainly surgeons, even though the ward is for geriatric (older people) rehabilitation.

The nurse said that they do this two nights a week and do have room to sleep in but can be called all night. I'm really worried about the standard of care if doctors are working all day, even if just on research projects in labs and things, then coming and staying from 5 pm til 9 am the next day trying to look after patients, then going back to their day jobs and doing it all again.

This might be ok on the odd occasion but surely not twice a week- I didn't think this was allowed and although thankfully my mum didn't need a doctor urgently overnight I'm really worried about what could have happened if she did- especially if the doctors aren't specialists in geriatric people and actually work for the university.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear junejam,

I appreciate you getting in touch to raise your concerns - it is important to us that we can alleviate any anxiety wherever possible and hopefully will be able to address some of your concerns for the future.

I spoke with my colleague Dr Ian Reeves, who is a Consultant Geriatrician about this to get some more information and will also be sending on to the management team for the rehabilitation ward to highlight to them. Dr Reeves advised that the out of hours doctors at the New Victoria are part of the generic on call rota and all work for the Department of Medicine for the Elderly.

The situation you describe would be possible if there was a locum member of staff on duty who had another job outwith Greater Glasgow and Clyde, however this is not the current situation for the doctors who cover these wards out of hours. It is possible that the nurse is speaking from a historical perspective rather than the current one, however if you could let me know the date that this happened we can check this to be sure. You can do that either by responding here or getting back to me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

I would like to assure you that patient safety is our absolute highest priority. While I am also thankful that your mother didn't need urgent treatment while in the rehabilitation ward, there are robust processes and highly trained staff in place to deal with any urgent situation that may develop.

I hope that this information has helped a little, but please get back to me if you have any further questions.

Best Wishes,


  • junejam doesn't think this response is helpful
    {{helpful}} of {{totalOthers()}} other people think it is helpful

Update posted by junejam (a relative)

Dear Lorna

Thank you for getting back to me. After sending my question in to you, I did a bit of research and spoke to a friend who used to work in a hospital in Glasgow. She told me about a system called rota-watch where anyone with a staff log in can see who is on call for all the different hospitals and areas at any time. My friend tells me that the specific hospital I'm talking about is the schedule for the ACH Victoria Overnight Medical Cover so maybe you could look that up? According to the nurse I spoke to they are mainly surgeons that cover this rota and there are only about 6 of them. She was fairly sure that they had jobs in the university at Glasgow at the daytime and I don't know why she would have made this up? She also seemed to know the doctor who was on-call so I don't think the girl could have been a locum. This was just a couple of weeks before I put my question on here so it was recent. I hope this helps you look into this further. I appreciate you getting back to me and I do think this is a really neat service.

Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear JuneJam,

Further to your most recent response, I’ve spoken to the General Manager for this service for more information.

As I said in my last post, the Doctors at the Victoria ACH are indeed part of an on-call rota, however we can absolutely assure you that there are no surgeons working in the rehabilitation wards at the Victoria ACH. As I mentioned before, all of the Doctors working in these wards are part of the Department of Medicine for the Elderly and therefore specialists in older people’s medicine.

I’m afraid I cannot comment any more than I already have with regards to the further observations the nurse made about the doctors who work in these wards, or what grounds she may have for those observations. However, I would encourage you to get in touch if you have any specific concerns about a member of staff that we can look into in more detail – you can do this either by emailing me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk or to our complaints team at complaints@ggc.scot.nhs.uk.

I am glad that overall you have had a positive experience of the service and hope that your Mum is doing well.

Best Wishes


  • {{helpful}} of {{total()}} people think this response is helpful

Update posted by junejam (a relative)

I am writing in response to some feedback from some months ago. I still have the same concerns and am sorry to say that your response wasn’t quite right.

My mum was recently back in the New Victoria Hospital, this time for day surgery. She stayed overnight in the ward as I understand it is a 23 hour ward even though it was just “day” surgery. A doctor had to be called to see my mum as she was in quite a bit of pain. It turned out to be the same doctor who I had seen all those months ago! When I spoke to the nurses it turns out that this doctor normally works in the day surgery overnight ward and had been helping the other ward previously. I was told that the doctors who look after patients staying after day surgery are working all day at universities or in labs then come to work overnight. My understanding is that they work weeknights on an “ACH” rota, when the day surgery overnight ward is open. Although again the care was fine, I am really unhappy that my mum would be looked after by someone who was not resting/asleep during the day. I wouldn’t want to get in a car at 3am with a taxi driver who’d been awake for 20 hours- no matter how good a driver they were!

Hopefully you can look into this again. I am also going to post it as a separate story if I can find the day surgery section as well.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story