More Than 300 Nurses Have Killed Themselves In Seven Years
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More than 300 NHS nurses have killed themselves in just seven years, newly-released figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics revealed that in 2017 (the most recent year for which figures are available) there were recorded 32 suicides by nurses and in 2016 there were 52 amid fears that nurses are struggling to cope with mounting stress and long hours.
The highest number of deaths on record came in 2014, where it was recorded that 54 nurses took their own life.
Between the years 2011 to 2017, there were a shocking 305 deaths of nurses in total.
The shocking stats have sparked concern that long hours and stress over a difficult workload may be contributing factors.
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary, said: "Every life lost is a desperate tragedy. The health and wellbeing of NHS staff must never be compromised."
Royal College of Nursing chief Dame Donna Kinnair told the publication: "Nursing staff experience high levels of stress, a shortage of colleagues and long working hours. Our members repeatedly say their employers ignore or disregard mental health issues. They feel they 'should cope'. We must all redouble our efforts to support nursing staff."
One of these nurses was Lucy de Oliveira, who took her own life in 2017 after mounting pressure at work, aged 22. During her training, Lucy was unpaid and relied on a bursary and second jobs. After food and living costs Lucy was left with just £6 a month to survive on.
Lucy's mum Liz de Oliveira told the Mirror: "They're working all hours God sends doing a really important job. Most of them would be better off working in McDonald's. That can't be right."
Mrs de Oliveira, 61, said there is a "toxic culture" which causes young nurses not to ask for health through fears mental health issues will be a blot on their record.
She said: "There's such a stigma about suicide.
"Maybe Lucy was worried that if people thought she was mentally unstable then she would lose her career."
The mum added: "We only found out after finding a note on her laptop after her death. If we had known I wouldn't have let her go back to Liverpool - I would have got her the help she needed."
It has also been argued that stresses due to low wages could be a contributing factor; according to Prospects, fully qualified nurses start on salaries of £22,128, and can later rise to 28,746 on Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change Pay Rates.
In London, salaries can be higher and with experience, nurses salaries can progress to £26,565 to £35,577.