Pharmacist died 'in train tragedy' — (Stokes Sentinal)

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First posted on Antidepaware

The Stokes Sentinal

Posted: November 07, 2013

By Claire Smyth

A PHARMACIST with a history of mental health problems took her own life while waiting to hear if she would be allowed to take medical retirement.

Margaret Welch, of Galingale View in Newcastle, suffered multiple injuries when she stepped in front of a train near Barlaston on February 23.

The 51-year-old had been waiting to hear if her application to retire from her role as a senior pharmacist on medical grounds would be accepted.

An inquest into her death  yesterday heard how she had recently received an inconclusive letter which asked for a second opinion on whether she should retire.

The hearing was told Margaret had a history of depression and anxiety which was made worse by pressure she felt while working for the North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust. This, coupled with concerns she had for the well-being of her elderly mother, Eileen, eventually led to her taking sick leave for 12 months.

Friend Margaret Pritchard told the hearing: “She was extremely conscientious and dilligent and I think one of the reasons she struggled with work is because her last job, we think, was under-resourced.

“She didn’t have enough staff and she didn’t have enough facilities to do the job to the standards she set herself.

“Rather than say it was a problem with the system, she tended to internalise things and think she could do things better.”

She said Margaret would also worry unnecessarily over not having enough money.

Margaret was approaching the end of the 12-month period during which she was entitled to receive sick pay, which concerned her, the hearing was told.

She had been prescribed medication for depression and underwent electro-convulsive therapy. But she stopped taking the medication a month before her death, the inquest heard.

A statement was read out from her cousin, Susan Hornby, who said she discovered a note from Margaret when she was clearing out her home after her death.

The note said: “I am sorry. I can’t explain why, I’m sorry.”

But Mrs Pritchard said she did not believe this to be a suicide note because it was found hidden in a desk at the back of a spare bedroom filled with boxes.

North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict of suicide ‘whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed.’

He said: “As a coroner, I also feel for train drivers, police officers, paramedics and everybody who has to go to these horrible scenes and I am sure, in her own right mind, Margaret would have thought exactly the same.”

If you feel you may want to take your own life, or are concerned about someone else, talk to the Samaritans on 08457 909090 or contact your GP.