Devon

Devon junior doctor Rebecca Ovenden found dead at home

Rebecca Ovenden Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Dr Rebecca Ovenden was described as a 'much-loved' and 'talented' doctor

A "much-loved" junior doctor who posted on social media about the pressures of working in an A&E department has been found dead at her home.

Dr Rebecca Ovenden, 32, was found by her husband at home in Plymouth, Devon at 09:25 BST on 28 March.

She had a history of mental health issues and had previously attempted to take her own life, an inquest heard.

Dr Ovenden is the third female junior doctor who has died or gone missing in the south west of England in a year.

An inquest into her death was opened at Plymouth Coroner's Court on Monday and adjourned for a fuller hearing at a later date.

As yet there is no suggestion that Dr Ovenden's death was connected to her medical work and there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death, the inquest heard.

For more on Dr Rebecca Ovenden, and other news


Junior doctors who went missing in the south west

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The BBC understands that a note found in Dr Rose Polge's car related mainly to personal issues, but included a passing reference to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

In 2016 the family of Dr Rose Polge, 25, called for action to halt the "crisis" affecting trainee doctors after she went missing during a junior doctors' strike and took her own life.

Dr Lauren Phillips, who works for North Bristol NHS Trust, has been missing since 23 February. The 26-year-old's car was found in Woolacombe, Devon, five days later but no other traces of her have been found.

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Dr Lauren Phillips's car has been found in north Devon

Dr Ovenden was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and had worked in the emergency department at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth for 18 months.

In November 2015 she posted on Facebook calling for people to not to complain about waiting for four hours in A&E and be thankful for the service they receive.

The post, which was shared 38,000 times, she said: "Please don't complain in earshot of your health care professional about waiting four hours to be seen in the middle of the night, free of charge by a doctor, with a smile on their face who has not been rude to you, who has reassured you, when the reason it took four hours to see you was because they were trying to save the life of an elderly man who had not wanted to make a fuss about a cold when he was dying of a raging chest infection."

She added: "Every day we run the risk of not seeing a patient who desperately needs medical attention in a timely fashion because our department is full of people who did not need to be there."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Dr Rebecca Ovenden had worked at Derriford Hospital's emergency department for 18 months

Anne Hicks, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the hospital described her as "a much-loved member of our team".

"She will be very sadly missed. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones."

Helena Holt, CEO of Devon Air Ambulance, where Dr Ovenden also worked, said: "On behalf of everyone at Devon Air Ambulance we send our thoughts and condolences to Becky's family, friends and work colleagues at this difficult time."

Nigel Hare, operations director, added: "We were very sad to hear of Becky's passing. She was a talented doctor and much respected member of our team and will be missed by us all."

If you are affected by any of the topics in this article, the Samaritans can be contacted free on 116 123 or through their website.

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