Nurse took his own life after 'struggling to cope' with work pressures

Sandwell | News | Published:

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

An inquest heard that Stuart Beddows, who was lead nurse in the endoscopy unit at Walsall Manor Hospital, had told a neighbour about his worries days before he was found hanged.

One of the things he was said to be concerned about was a new computer system which had been introduced at the hospital causing a backlog of patients.

Mr Beddows, who was 43, was discovered at his home in Lime Street, Walsall on September 17.

Neighbour Maureen Hammond, who described Mr Beddows as being 'like a son', told the inquest at Smethwick Council House that he had voiced concerns about the pressures he was under two weeks before his death.

"He said he was at his lowest point ever," she said.

"He said he was struggling to cope, working long hours days on end with little rest through staff shortages.

"He said he felt very low, but he never mentioned he had any thoughts of taking his own life or harming himself."

Mr Beddows was discovered after friends and family could not get in touch with him.


Director of nursing for the hospital Kathryn Halford told the hearing that colleagues were aware Mr Beddows was suffering from stress and tried to offer him support.

She said problems with the new computer system added to his pressures, and said his colleagues were concerned about the hours he was working and the fact he wasn't 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."

Mrs Halford added that Mr Beddows had been offered help to deal with his problems, but had declined the offer.

The inquest was told that on July 14 he had talked to his GP about the pressures of work, but declined a sick note.

His mother Maureen told the inquest her son was a kind-hearted man and conscientious man.

"He was a loving son who would do anything for anybody, he was extremely dedicated to his work," she said.

Concluding Mr Beddows intended to take his own life, Mr Siddique said: "The new computer system introduced was causing a backlog of patient, and there was the patient who died following a procedure. There was support from colleagues, but he was affected by that."

Hospital bosses after the inquest that they were saddened to learn of his death and said Mr Beddows was a 'well-liked and valued member of the team'.

Richard Kirby, chief executive at the trust added "The outcome of the inquest reflects our own internal review that Stuart was experiencing a high level of stress in the workplace. His line manager and colleagues were aware of this and had responded by offering a number of supportive solutions. We are very sorry that we were not able to help Stuart further to prevent this tragedy".

He added that support for staff had been strengthened in the past few weeks.

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