Paramedic student commits suicide over ‘extreme stress’, exam failure

A student paramedic took his own life after suffering “extreme stress” and failing his exams, his family had reported.

Russell Burgess, 39, was found dead at home in July on the day he failed three re-sits in his attempt to qualify as a London Ambulance Service paramedic.

He had worked for LAS for 13 years, first in its 999 call centres and then as a junior medic, and was 18 months into the two-year on-the-job course at LAS’s “paramedic academy” in Fulham.

More than 1,000 people, including fellow students, have signed a petition calling for a reduction in the “unnecessary stress” faced by trainee paramedics.

They claim that insufficient time is allowed to prepare for the career-defining exams, which Mr Burgess was forced to re-sit after working a week of gruelling night shifts at the control centre.

An inquest will be held tomorrow into Mr Burgess’s death. His husband Dave Raval says he plans to ask Poplar coroner Mary Hassell to issue a prevention of future deaths report requiring LAS to improve safeguards on the mental health of its staff.

“One of the things we are asking the coroner is for the same level of mental health support as they give crews on the road,” he said.

A LAS spokeswoman said, “Our sympathies remain with Russell’s family as we co-operate with the coroner as part of this important judicial process to establish all the facts.”



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