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Ambulance worker took his own life amid struggle with stress and anxiety, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 17:54 27 July 2020 | UPDATED: 19:01 27 July 2020

Hundreds of ambulance staff attended the funeral of co-worker Luke Wright, 24, from Norwich. Pictures: Wright Family/Brittany Woodman

Hundreds of ambulance staff attended the funeral of co-worker Luke Wright, 24, from Norwich. Pictures: Wright Family/Brittany Woodman

Wright Family/Brittany Woodman

The brother of an ambulance worker who took his own life said he hoped recommendations from a report into his death would help “save other lives”.

Ambulance workers formed a guard of honour at the funeral for Luke Wright, from Costessey. Picture: Brittany WoodmanAmbulance workers formed a guard of honour at the funeral for Luke Wright, from Costessey. Picture: Brittany Woodman

Father-of-one Luke Wright, who worked in Norwich, died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning having been found at Waxham on November 10 last year, an inquest heard.

The 24-year-old, from Costessey, first joined the ambulance service in 2014 as a call handler, before becoming a dispatcher in 2018.

MORE: Hundreds pay tribute to ‘cheeky, gold-hearted’ ambulance worker

His funeral saw hundreds of his ambulance service co-workers form a guard of honour during the procession.

Ambulance workers formed a guard of honour at the funeral for Luke Wright, from Costessey. Picture: Brittany WoodmanAmbulance workers formed a guard of honour at the funeral for Luke Wright, from Costessey. Picture: Brittany Woodman

He was one of three members of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to die in the space of 11 days.

The deaths sparked a wide-reaching investigation into the 999 service which recommended better training for managers in dealing with mental health issues.

MORE: Act on mental health, ambulance bosses told after staff deaths

The inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, held on Monday, was told Mr Wright had made previous attempts to take his own life, and before his death had been suffering from anxiety and stress due to issues in his personal life.

Luke Wright, 24, from Norwich died on November 10, 2019. Picture: Wright FamilyLuke Wright, 24, from Norwich died on November 10, 2019. Picture: Wright Family

A “chaotic” approach to managing work commitments exacerbated by the demands of his domestic situation had seen him take long absences from his job, the inquest heard.

But though he had discussed flexible working with his managers, this had been refused in favour of a “phased return to work”, it heard.

MORE: ‘It should’ve been a red flag’ - Brother of ambulance worker responds to staff deaths’ report

Part of the investigation report read aloud at the inquest described this as an “overly opportunistic and simplistic plan”.

Daniel Wright beleives recommendations from an ambulance service investigation into his brother Luke's death could save other lives. Picture: Daniel WrightDaniel Wright beleives recommendations from an ambulance service investigation into his brother Luke's death could save other lives. Picture: Daniel Wright

Recording a conclusion of suicide, senior coroner for Norfolk Yvonne Blake said she was satisfied Mr Wright had been thinking clearly.

After the hearing, Mr Wright’s brother Daniel, who also works for the ambulance service, said he was disappointed the inquest had not reinforced the report’s recommendations.

He said: “We are all surprised there are not any recommendations to come out of the inquest.

“We all knew what the conclusion would be, but the lack of any recommendations hasn’t given any incentive for change. If it can help save another person’s life then it would have been worth it.”

If you need help and support, call Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust’s First Response helpline 0808 196 3494 or the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services are available 24 hours 7 days a week. You can also download the Stay Alive app on Apple & Android.


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