GP took own life after admitting to suicidal thoughts — (Essex Chronicle)

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Essex Chronicle

Posted: August 13, 2013

By Megan Tatum

A HIGHLY respected GP killed himself using an overdose of alcohol and anti-depressants after years struggling with mental health issues.

Dr Martin Bell, who worked at Whitley House Surgery in Writtle Road, Chelmsford, for more than two decades, was found dead at a friend’s home in Old Harlow in February this year.

At an inquest into his death on Wednesday, it emerged the 53-year-old, who was born in Uganda, intentionally took his own life using a deadly mix of pills and alcohol.

“I have come to the sad conclusion that he intended to take his own life, I am sure of this having regard to the several notes he left, his history, and his clear suicidal ideations,” said coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray.

“He was a medically qualified gentleman and he knew the effects of what he was taking.”

The father-of-two had contacted a close friend on the evening of February 7 admitting his distress and suicidal thoughts, travelling to the friend’s home to sleep that night.

The next morning he was found in the bedroom unresponsive, surrounded by empty bottles of wine, and pill packets, having taken his own life.

Following his sudden death colleagues and patients had flooded a tribute page with words of shock and dismay at the loss of a “much-beloved” doctor.

One contribution read: “This awful news is almost too sad for words. Thank you Martin for all the kindness and reassurance you showed me over so many years.

“You were not just a doctor but a highly respected and admired friend to so many patients.”

The GP, who had twice completed the London Marathon, had battled depression for many years, and had been under both the care of The Priory, a private mental health rehabilitation centre, and the Mid-Essex health trust at the time of his death.

At the inquest at New Bridge House, Chelmsford, it was agreed that an action plan would be put in place to improve communication between both the public and private mental health sector, after it was agreed the current lack of communication was “unacceptable” and could lead to doubling up prescriptions.

“The court is very familiar with these kinds of issues, the themes are always the same and I hope that in seven days we will see an action plan that really means business,” added the coroner.