NHS comments after Derbyshire doctor takes her own life

The NHS logo.
The NHS logo.

The NHS insists lessons have been learned after a Derbyshire GP took her own life.

As previously reported, Dr Wendy Potts was suspended from work and under investigation after she wrote a blog about her battle with bipolar disorder.

One of Dr Potts' patients read the post and complained to her surgery, questioning whether she should be practicing as a GP when she had the mental disorder.

The 46-year-old mother was later found hanged at her home on Hayfield Road, Chapel-en-le-Frith.

During an inquest on Monday, coroner James Newman concluded Dr Potts died by suicide on November 24, 2015, and said: "It seems to me the suspension and investigation was something of a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut.

"The investigation process lost sight that Dr Potts was a human being."

He added that Dr Potts faced 'significant pressure both in her private life and due to her significant responsibilities as a GP'.

Dr Potts worked in Glossop. Today, Dr Richard Preece, medical director and executive lead for quality for the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr Wendy Potts and we continue to hold in our thoughts all those close to Wendy.

"Together with our partners NHS England, we reviewed our procedures and shared this learning nationally to ensure doctors experiencing mental health difficulties receive the support they need in a timely manner.

"Through devolution, we are putting in place a new support hub for GPs who may be struggling with health and work issues."

Mr Newman said he would write to Dr Potts' practice - which was not identified during the inquest - as well as NHS England and the General Medical Council (GMC) to raise concerns about Dr Potts' situation.

However, a GMC spokesman said the case had been dealt with locally and it had only been informed after Dr Potts' death.

The spokesman added: "We are working with GPs and trusts nationally to improve how mental health is handled in the profession."

Paying tribute to Dr Potts on our Facebook page, Samantha Armstrong said: "She was a excellent doctor to my whole family."

Julie Gates said: "She was a lovely, caring doctor. My thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues. May Dr Potts RIP."

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