AUTHOR and former doctor Adam Kay has planted a tree outside Ealing Hospital in memory of NHS staff who have died by suicide.

Hundreds of health professionals have taken their own lives in the past decade, with the demands of the job intensifying through the pandemic.   

Ealing Hospital was the location for BBC drama This is Going to Hurt, written by Kay and based on his real-life diaries from the hospital wards.

The show focused on the mental wellbeing of NHS staff working under extraordinary pressures and culminated in the death by suicide of a fictional junior doctor called Shruti

A moving scene sees a tree planted outside the hospital in Shruti’s memory, and sparked numerous real-life visits from people trying to find the location.

The interest led to a conversation between Adam and the hospital trust and the agreement that a real tree, a Gingko, would be left in place.

Kay said: “Suicide among healthcare workers has long been a taboo subject, which has been ignored and brushed under the carpet.

“I will be forever grateful to the BBC for allowing me to bring this crucial topic to the attention of millions of viewers.”

Amandip Sidhu, founder of the charity Doctors in Distress, whose brother took his life while working as a consultant cardiologist, said: “My brother had a strong sense of duty. He didn’t want to let patients down and eventually allowed his own health to be compromised.”

The Laura Hyde Foundation also looks out for the mental welfare of medical workers following the death of nurse Laura Hyde.

Liam Barnes, founder of LHF, said: “The main challenge is the feeling that you must maintain a stiff upper lip and that it is just part of the job. We must change attitude.”

The ceremony was also a poignant moment for Ealing surgeon Peter McDonald who remembers a colleague taking his own life due to work pressures.