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Outrage after NHS boss emails note from staff member who took their own life

An NHS boss has apologised after reportedly emailing a note from a staff member who took their own life to 3,500 employees.

Helen Greatorex, chief executive of Kent and Medway NHS Social Care and Partnership Trust, is said to have sent a copy of the handwritten note to thousands of colleagues in a daily newsletter on Tuesday.

Helen Greatorex
Helen Greatorex

News of the letter was revealed by the Huff Post today, which reported Greatorex mentioned the death after referring to “ten more sleeps until Christmas!” and telling staff she had seen a “beautiful lesser spotted woodpecker”.

The inclusion of the note has caused outrage among staff and the chief executive is said to be "sincerely sorry" following the revelation.

One staff member to the publication, that attaching the letter to an email had caused “absolute outrage in the organisation”.

They said: “Many people have never seen a suicide note and this was circulated to over 3,000 members of staff.

“The chief executive was warned only a few weeks ago at an engagement event called ‘the big conversation’ that she was out of touch.

"This, however, is not just further evidence she is out of touch - but dangerous and insensitive.”

In a statement to the Huff Post, Greatorex apologised for offence or upset caused and said the staff member in question was very well-known and highly regarded.

She said the letter had been read out during the colleague’s funeral and that the man's mother had given permission for it to be shared.

In her email to all staff she wrote: “In the meantime, I am going to appendix to this daily message, an open letter that (the staff member) left for us all to read.

"It is a heartfelt and important letter from someone who felt that they could not go on.

"I think it was an enormously kind and thoughtful act on (the man’s) part to leave it for all those who knew and loved him and his dear mum, has given me permission to share it with all of you.

“It is a very sad letter to read, but it is also something that I think offers us some comfort. (The man) had made a decision, he had a very strong Christian faith and he knew with certainty that he was going home at last.”

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