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Walsall nurse's suicide linked to work pressures, rules coroner

  • 17 Comments

A coroner has ruled that a senior nurse was struggling with work pressures when he took his own life.

Stuart Beddows, lead nurse in the endoscopy unit at Walsall Manor Hospital, told a neighbour about worries days before he was found hanged.

He said he was concerned about a new computer system introduced at the hospital which had led to a backlog of patients, reported the Express & Star newspaper.

The 43-year-old was discovered at his home in Lime Street, Walsall, on 17 September. He was found after friends and family could not get in touch with him.

Neighbour Maureen Hammond told an inquest at Smethwick Council House that he had “voiced concerns” about the pressures he was under two weeks before his death.

She said he was struggling to cope, having worked long hours for many days in a row. Staff shortages also meant he had few chances to rest.

Kathryn Halford, director of nursing at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said that colleagues “were aware” Mr Beddows was suffering from stress and tried to offer him support.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

Kathryn Halford

She said problems with the new computer system added to his pressures, and that his colleagues were concerned about the hours he was working and the fact he was not taking any breaks. He was also worried about the work needed for an upcoming hospital assessment.

But she said the most important concern appeared to be the death of a young woman, who died on readmission to hospital three days after he had performed and endoscopic procedure on her.

“Her death was nothing to do with the endoscopy, it was entirely different, and staff spent a lot of time talking to him about it,” said Ms Halford.

The inquest heard that Mr Beddows had talked to his GP on 14 July about the pressures of work – but declined a sick note.

Coroner Zafar Siddique concluded that Mr Beddows intended to take his own life.

After the inquest, hospital managers said that they were saddened to learn of his death and said Mr Beddows was a “well-liked and valued member of the team”.

 

  • 17 Comments

Readers' comments (17)

  • Very sad indeed. I feel so sorry for his family, friends and colleagues. Was there no management support, they must have noticed the hours he was putting in, and have now lost a valuable member of staff. The job is important, but just not this important. If nurses were that valuable they would be paid appropriately. We all need to remember this.

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  • Laha78

    Such a sad case and clearly a dedicated nurse. To the person who commented above, I don't think money was the issue here at all I think it's a case of a poor man who's pressures of work have got too much and he's clearly felt there has been no way out. RIP

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  • Extremely sad. Too many nurses work too many hours and of course people let us. I feel so sorry for what he must have suffered and the pressure he was under. Thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.

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  • This to me says Nursing management weren't taking care of a member of staff who was known to be not coping. It was known he was struggling and under stress, it was known that he was working too many hours and not taking any breaks. This should have been addressed more robustly. This story should ring alarm bells for Nursing managers everywhere.

    RIP to a dedicated Nurse.

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  • Nursing environment is so gruelling - nature of the job, shift patterns, shortage of staff, where skeleton staff are required to cover, giving optimum best care - the list goes on. Thankless job, except for the patients we care for whom are mostly 99.9% grateful for the care we give.

    My thoughts and condolences to the family of this hardworking colleague. If as nurses we become our fellow workmates "keepers," caring and supporting each other this may reduced such incidence. We are all aware "the managers" wont provide support. Very sad indeed.

    May Stuart RIP.

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  • I agree Sarah all too often there is regret after a valued member of staff suffers stress to the detriment of their health and mental stability.
    RIP Stuart Beddows.

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  • Yet again lack of duty of care on behalf of cascaded governance from board level to direct supervising nurse line managers, accountable to and for this distressed fellow professional.

    We should be ashamed.

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  • a young intern on our ward committed suicide the evening after we had been out to celebrate his departure for a new job and where we had danced the night away until the early hours. he was an outstanding clinician and appreciated by patients and interdisciplinary colleagues alike and was a family man with very young children. We had such good contact with him and he and all of us enjoyed his celebratory evening and none of us had any inkling anything was wrong or what was to come and left us not only with extreme sorrow but so many question marks in our normally very happy, hard working and well-balanced team over what we could have done and what we could always do better in our working and professional, as well as some more personal, relations and friendships with one another, and with our patients.

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  • My prayers go out to the family. I have experienced this working long hrs without break and continuous on night shifts for 4 to 6 days in row. I remember raising my concerns
    that i had no breaks because of the busy shift not even a drop of water.One of them senior answered me it was not their problems i did not have my break. I mean how does on get a rest for break when all staff on the floor are just agency and do not know patients much as you do? Its as good as working alone when you are doing the night shift and there is a shortage of staff. The problem with agency staff is that they are not familiar with the ward or even the patients. So this makes it difficult to work at such environment. Am praying for this family to get strength and that their beloved should rest in peace.

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  • I am very sad and sorry to read this. RIP Stuart. I am also very sad to say that I am not as surprised as I ought to be to have read this. It has become obvious to me over the past few years that the NHS does not care about its staff. I am currently under threat of redundancy. Due to worries about my health and finances, I have felt that I would be better off not being here. I hope that I will never act on this feeling. There must be many, many more nurses who feel like this. It is not living it is just existing.

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