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Patients seek private hospitals after new research

People needing medical treatment might be tempted to seek out a private hospital after research has found that some doctors are responsible for up to 400 patients at night.

A study by the Royal College of Physicians revealed that, on average, doctors were responsible for 61 patients during night shifts but some had as many as 400.

It was found that in 63 hospitals, the most senior medical cover available on the wards was a junior doctor in their first two years of training, something that Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association called "disturbing".

"We wouldn't let a trainee airline pilot fly a jumbo jet alone, why do we do not show the same attitude and caution with the lives and health of patients?" she asked.

This survey could lead some people to seek private hospital care or demand more information on local hospitals.

Ms Murphy said: "This could be dangerous stuff for the patients involved."

"This is further evidence that serious work needs to be done to ensure that the NHS provides a safe service 24/7."

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