Junior doctor is found dead at Taunton hospital

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  03 Aug 2017


A junior doctor has died from an apparent suicide at an NHS hospital in Taunton, Somerset.

Musgrove Park Hospital has confirmed that the male junior doctor, who has not been named, died on site late on the night of Monday 31 July, apparently by taking his own life.

Sam Barrell, chief executive of the hospital, said, “We are terribly upset by the death of our colleague and we are doing everything we can to support his family and close friends at this time. They have our heartfelt sympathies.”

Barrell said that the hospital had been aware that the junior doctor needed “some support” and had been providing him with a range of services. “Obviously, we are asking ourselves if this support was all that we could possibly have given. We are taking a very close look at this,” Barrell said. “In the meantime, we are doing everything we are able to support our colleagues who worked with him.”

In a statement, Avon and Somerset Police said, “We were called to reports of the body of a man in his 30s being found at about 11 pm on Monday [31 July] at Musgrove Park Hospital. The death has been referred to the coroner as a sudden death.”

Doctors have previously called for all suicides of junior doctors to be identified and investigated, with an explicit focus on the role that workplace pressure might have played.[1]

In February 2016 Rose Polge, a foundation doctor at Torbay Hospital in southwest England, disappeared. Her body was found in the sea almost two months later, and the coroner concluded that she had taken her own life.

Musgrove Park Hospital said in a statement that colleagues of the doctor who were most affected were being talked to individually and being offered support.

Drop-in sessions were held throughout the day on Tuesday, the hospital said, and a wider session for junior doctors and others was convened, facilitated by a consultant psychologist with long experience in support for trauma and bereavement.

Follow-up support would continue to be offered over the weeks ahead, the hospital said.

References

  1. Clarke R, McKee M. Suicides among junior doctors in the NHS. BMJ  2017;357:j2527. [Link]   [Link] .

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

 arimmer@bmj.com

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