Missing junior doctor and Southampton Medical School graduate Rose Polge reportedly left a note making a reference to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt before her disappearance.
Dr Polge, 25, disappeared halfway through her shift at Torbay Hospital in Torquay last Friday afternoon. Her car was found parked at nearby Anstey’s Cove at 6pm that day and a hooded jumper said to belong to her has reportedly been washed up on a nearby beach.
An active supporter of the British Medical Association (BMA)’s industrial action over proposed new contracts for junior doctors, Dr Polge is said to have recently changed her profile picture on social networking site Facebook to feature the Twitter hashtag #NotFairNotSafe which has been used to show support for the walkouts. She also reportedly shared a link to an online petition asking the BMA to support the action.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the note which was left in her car was addressed to her family and briefly referenced Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has been widely reported as planning to impose the controversial new contracts on junior medics. A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police today refused to comment about the note or its contents.
Police described Dr Polge’s disappearance as ‘totally out of character’. In a statement her family said:
We would like to thank everyone for their help, hope and kind words. The support we have received from family and friends has been much appreciated and clearly Rose is loved far and wide.
We are overwhelmed by the support from her friends and colleagues, dozens of whom have been combing the Devon coast in search of Rose.
Martin Ringrose, Director of Human Resources at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, added:
We are aware that one of our junior doctors is missing. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones at this very distressing time.
We will do whatever we can to support the authorities investigating her disappearance and searching for her, as well as providing support to her colleagues, who are anxious for her wellbeing.
A major search operation to locate Dr Polge is currently underway involving the Police, HM Coastguard and other local rescue groups. Patients at Torbay hospital described the medic, who graduated from the University of Southampton last year, as a ‘lovely, caring person’ who was ‘dedicated to her job’.
Wessex Scene will update this story as more information becomes available.