NHS apologises after hospital doctor took own life

The doctor in charge of medical training for NHS England has apologised unreservedly to the family of a medic who took her own life.

Dr Vaish Kumar, 35, was wrongly told she needed to do a further six months of training before starting a new role. It meant she was forced to stay at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) in Birmingham, where an inquest heard she had been belittled by colleagues.

In a letter to Dr Kumar’s family, seen by the BBC, NHS bosses admitted she did not need to do the extra training.

Dr Navina Evans, chief workforce and training education officer for England, told the family in the letter: “I wish to unreservedly apologise for these mistakes and for the impact they would have had.

“As an organisation we are determined to learn… not only across the Midlands but across England as a whole. I will be working with my senior team… to ensure this will be done.Dr Kumar, a junior doctor, left a suicide note blaming her death entirely on the hospital where she worked, her family revealed last year.

She had been chosen as chief registrar at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, where she worked through the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Birmingham and Solihull Coroner’s Court heard in November 2022 that she began to struggle around December 2021 when she realised her training at the QE was being extended.

NHS staff in England

Dr Ravi Kumar, her father, strongly believes that if this had not happened, she would be still be alive. She was promised that she would move away from this toxic place,” he said. Dr Kumar was seen as an outstanding mentor for other junior doctors, with strong leadership skills.

But her family, who live in Leicester, said she changed at the QE and her inquest heard she told her parents she had been belittled by consultants there.

University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB), which runs the hospital, has been at the centre of NHS scrutiny after the BBC unveiled multiple allegations of a toxic culture at the trust.

A spokesperson for the trust, which has apologised for “unacceptable behaviours”, previously said it needed to learn following Dr Kumar’s death.

“Dr Vaishnavi Kumar was a kind, devoted, much-loved and highly respected doctor, friend and colleague, who had such a positive impact on her patients, offering them the very best care and treatment,” the trust said.

If you have been affected by any of these issues, you can visit the BBC’s Action Line, or contact the Samaritans, external.

Source: BBC

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