Women doctors are four times more likely to commit suicide than public

‘The last taboo in the NHS’: Women doctors are four times more likely to commit suicide than most people, medical expert claims

  • Dr Clare Gerada described doctors’ mental health problems as the ‘last taboo’ 
  • NHS Practitioner Health Programme is only confidential service for treatments
  • But doctors can only self-refer and stay anonymous if they work in London 

Suicide rates among doctors are rising, a medical expert has claimed.

Female doctors have up to four times the risk of suicide compared with the general public, according to Dr Clare Gerada, of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme (PHP). Between 2011 and 2015, 430 doctors took their own lives in England.

Dr Gerada described doctors’ mental health problems as ‘the last taboo in the NHS’ on BBC 2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme. And she highlighted the negative effect public complaints can have on doctors’ esteem.

Dr Gerada said PHP was the only confidential service offering doctors a range of assessments and treatments for mental health problems.

But doctors can only self-refer, and therefore maintain confidentiality, if they work in London. Two-thirds of the 5,000 doctors helped by PHP in the last decade were women. 


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Female doctors have up to four times the risk of suicide compared with the general public (file photo)

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