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Grantham-born junior doctor who gave passionate defence of the NHS has been found dead at home

Dr Rebecca Ovenden
Dr Rebecca Ovenden

A 32-year-old Grantham-born doctor has been found dead at her home in Plymouth.

Dr Rebecca Ovenden was found by police at 9.20am on Tuesday, March 28, after they were called to her home in Brecon Close, Hartley, following concerns for her welfare.

Dr Ovenden had written a viral Facebook post about the pressure of life working at Derriford’s A&E department.

Colleagues paid tribute to a “talented” and “much-loved” junior doctor who had worked at Derriford Hospital’s emergency department for around 18 months.

Dr Ovenden - known as Becky by friends and family - had in November 2015 penned a Facebook post about the state of the NHS which had been shared 38,000 times.

In it she gave a passionate defence of the NHS and told the public to make the most of it while they could.

The post read: “I heard a patient’s relative comment the other night at work “we waited four hours for that.”

“I wish I could have turned to them and said ‘YES! - BLESS THE NHS! It is because of the NHS you can walk into an ED at 1.35 in the morning and no matter your complaint be seen by a doctor.

“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.”

“Be thankful of the service you get at the moment, no matter how crappy you might think it is. You never know when you or a loved one might need it.

“It may not be around in its current form for much longer. Then what would you say?”

Dr Ovenden, maiden name Steptoe, was married at Stoke Rochford Hall in 2012. She married marine engineer Paul Christopher Ovenden, of New Milton, Hampshire, and they lived in Truro, Cornwall, after their wedding.

An inquest into Dr Ovenden’s death was opened and adjourned at Plymouth Coroner’s Court. Police say her death is not being treated as suspicious.

It is understood she worked at the accident and emergency department and aboard the Devon Air Ambulance.


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