Dartford MP Gareth Johnson raised the issue of increased suicides rates amongst doctors with the Prime Minister yesterday.
In the House of Commons, during the PM’s statement on the lockdown coming into force on Thursday, Gareth Johnson said: “Doctors are between two and five times more likely to take their lives than the general population.
In 2018, my constituent Dr Jagdip Sidhu was a Consultant Cardiologist at Darent Valley Hospital. He was at the cutting edge of medical treatment, but alas could not cope with the pressure that he faced and sadly he took his own life.
Could the Prime Minister therefore agree it is vital we do as much as possible for the welfare of clinicians during what is going to be a very, very challenging time for this profession?”
In response Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am deeply sorry to hear about the loss of life, suicide of his constituent Dr Jagdip Sidhu.
We are doing everything we can to support NHS care for its staff, their wellbeing and their mental health and I would urge anybody in the NHS who is aware of a colleague who is struggling with their mental health to come forward and seek help.”
After his question, Gareth Johnson said: “Following Dr Sidhu’s death in November 2018, his brother Amandip Sidhu founded the charity Doctors in Distress.
A doctor dies from suicide around every three weeks and the aim of this charity is to reduce this rate and raise awareness. As the number of Covid infections and hospital admissions increase, pressure on clinicians will inevitably rise too.
Dartford has seen 127 deaths from Covid so far and each one of these is not just devastating for the families of these people but also has an impact on those that have been treating them. It therefore is essential that we consider the welfare of our doctors, nurses and care workers at this time.”
Founder of Doctors in Distress Amandip Sidhu and Chair Dame Clare Gerada said: “Here at Doctors in Distress we are grateful and honoured that the case that inspired Doctors in Distress (the suicide of Dr Jagdip Sidhu) was mentioned in Parliament and acknowledged by Boris Johnson.
This is a huge milestone for us and we would like to thank Gareth Johnson for recognising Doctors in Distress, and our work.
We are seeing good progress in reducing the stigma of mental health amongst doctors and the health system with these conversations, but there is still more to do in recognising the importance of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers’ welfare at this time.”