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Tree Planting Ceremony

National charity Doctors in Distress were welcomed at St Peter’s Hospital for a tree planting ceremony to remember healthcare workers across the country who have taken their own lives.

Yesterday, Wednesday 17 April 2024, several members of the executive and senior leadership team were present at the ceremony in QEII Covid Memorial Staff Garden.

Dr David Fluck, Medical Director at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals was in attendance of the tree planting ceremony. Dr Fluck said: “The health and wellbeing of our team is of utmost importance and this tree signifies our duty of care for the mental health of our staff and remembering those who have lost their lives.

“We would like to thank Doctors in Distress for reaching out to the Trust and allowing us to be a part of this very important national campaign.”

The National Memorial Tree Campaign, led by the medical mental health charity Doctors in Distress and in association with its Patron, BAFTA winner and former NHS doctor Adam Kay, is to honour the memory of these healthcare professionals and highlight our Trust’s commitment to protecting the mental health and wellbeing of our staff.

Doctors in Distress is an independent charity that provides peer support for all UK based healthcare workers to promote and protect their mental health and prevent suicide.

Statistics show that in the UK one doctor takes their own life every three weeks and one nurse takes their own life every week. These shocking figures are a stark reminder that the wellbeing of our healthcare workers is paramount.

Doctors in Distress’ Chief Executive, Ann Paul, said: “We would like every hospital trust in the country to support our National Memorial Tree Campaign and plant a memorial tree, which will highlight their commitment to protecting the mental health and wellbeing of their staff.

Together we can help to break down the stigma around mental health and help to prevent further suicides”.

Doctors in Distress Patron, BAFTA winner, former NHS doctor and bestselling author of This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay, said: "The first step in solving a problem must be in admitting that the problem exists, and this is something I tried to highlight in the BBC adaptation of my book, This is Going to Hurt. The series culminated in the death by suicide of a doctor called Shruti - a fictional character based on so many tragic stories. In the show, a tree was planted in her memorial, which has led to trees being planted in real-life hospitals to commemorate lost colleagues. I'm very proud to support Doctors in Distress in raising awareness of this vital issue and protecting the mental health of healthcare workers."

Amandip Sidhu, Founder of Doctors in Distress said: “My cardiologist brother died by suicide in 2018 therefore this is a very emotive topic for me. It is very important for me to know that there are NHS Hospital Trusts which understand the pressure their workforce has faced and continues to have to deal with, and who are prepared to talk about the issue of suicide in the workforce.

“Until the mental health and wellbeing of the healthcare workforce is prioritised by leaders at the highest level, the rate of burnout will continue to rise and, inevitably, so will the rate of suicide. Doctors in Distress was founded specifically to eliminate the stigma surrounding suicide and to provide the support our colleagues need in order to continue doing the amazing work they do.”

Thank you to Dewhurst Ltd for kindly donating the plaque.

 

Pictured above: ASPH Medical Director Dr David Fluck, Doctors in Distress’ (DiD) Chief Executive, Ann Paul, ASPH Interim Chief Nurse Ellen Bull, DiD Ambassador Brian Daniels and DiD Founder and Trustee Amandip Sidhu and ASPH Arts and Design Manager Cat Cooke.

 

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