GP, 47, took her own life after ‘unbearable pressure of the job finally got to her’

A GP took her own life after the pressures of her job became ‘overwhelming’, her husband has said – as he paid tribute to a ‘wonderful, beautiful and bananas wife, mother and doctor’. 

Dr Gail Milligan, a partner at Camberley Health Centre in Surrey, was found dead in woodland by a search team last week after she had been missing for nearly 24 hours.

Her husband, Christopher, wrote on Facebook that ‘the unbearable pressure of her job finally got to her’, adding: ‘We are in no doubt that the job made her ill.’

He originally shared the message in a Facebook group but it has since been widely shared on Twitter after he gave permission for it to be made public. 

Dr Gail Milligan, a partner at Camberley Health Centre in Surrey, was found dead in woodland by a search team last week after she had been missing for nearly 24 hours

Describing his wife, a 47-year-old mother to boys, as ‘the best of us’, he wrote: ‘Her job as a partner at a GP surgery became overwhelming. Especially during the pandemic. 

‘She was seeing patients face-to-face the whole time, as well as the unbelievable amount of telephone consultations that were happening. 

‘She saw old people dying in care homes during the pandemic, and was working at the vaccine centres.’

Mr Milligan said the ‘pressure of not making mistakes’ and the ‘endless emails and paperwork’ meant his wife had been ‘neglecting herself’. 

‘She used to leave for work at 6.45am and not get home until usually between 19.30 and 20.00,’ he said. 

‘When she arrived at home she would generally work until I made her go to bed at 11pm. 

‘That was a ”lazy” four days a week. On her ”lazy” day off on Thursdays, she would work for about 12 hours. Meetings on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, never-ending emails and calls. This tipped over into the weekends more recently. 

‘The same workload all weekend. Very recently she hasn’t ‘even had time for an hour’s dog walk. All that and running the business of the practice.’

Mr Milligan described how his wife was in charge of human resources at the surgery, and last Sunday received an email that ‘hit her so hard she never recovered’. 

‘She went into a deep, deep depression from the Monday to the Wednesday, when she took her life,’ he wrote. 

‘We tried to intervene. Her colleagues tried as hard as they could to get her out of it. Offering to take over for her, and trying to reassure her that her thinking about a situation was wrong. 

‘And it was wrong. She had lost the ability to think rationally. Something had gone wrong in her head. By the time we realised what was happening, it was already too late.’

Dr Milligan qualified at Manchester University in 1998 and trained as a GP in Reading before joining Camberley Health Centre in 2003

Dr Milligan qualified at Manchester University in 1998 and trained as a GP in Reading before joining Camberley Health Centre in 2003

Mr Milligan said his wife’s suicide was ‘not a cry for help, this was clearly the only way she could see her suffering stopping’. 

‘She was so proud of our boys, and would have never dreamed of doing anything to hurt them,’ he wrote. 

‘However, mental illness had other ideas. Looking back, and talking to friends and family, I think she had been hiding it for years, while helping other people deal with their own mental health, she neglected her own. 

‘It’s such a sad waste of a wonderful, beautiful, funny and absolutely bananas wife, mother and doctor.’ 

Mr Milligan continued: ‘The next time you hear somebody banging on about lazy doctors, please stop and think about what happened to my wife. We are in no doubt the job made her ill. 

‘Me and my boys are broken. Especially me. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. We’d been together for thirty years this year.

‘It was almost always lots of laughter and fun with huge amounts of piss-taking. My boys have lost their mother, and I have lost my best friend.’ 

Mr Milligan originally shared the message in a Facebook group but it has since been widely shared on Twitter after he gave permission for it to be made public

Mr Milligan originally shared the message in a Facebook group but it has since been widely shared on Twitter after he gave permission for it to be made public

Dr Milligan qualified at Manchester University in 1998 and trained as a GP in Reading before joining Camberley Health Centre in 2003. 

She was described as a ‘dedicated and passionate GP’ who was ‘much loved and respected by patients and colleagues alike’. 

On a memorial page, one patient described her as ’empathetic, considerate, wise, and professional in every appointment I had with her’. 

‘Dr Milligan was a wonderful person who supported me during some of my toughest times. I’ll never forget the empathy she showed, her kindness and humour,’ a second wrote.  

Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of NHS Frimley, said: ‘Everyone at NHS Frimley was shocked at the unexpected death of Dr Gail Milligan, a much-loved friend and colleague and a highly respected and admired clinician.

‘We are working with her practice to provide support at this difficult time, as well as supporting wider staff who knew and worked with Gail.

‘We would like to add our sympathies and condolences to the many already expressed to Gail’s family and friends.’

For confidential help and support contact Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their website. 

‘There just aren’t enough GPs to cope, and now there is one less’: The full heartbreaking post 

I’m afraid this post isn’t my usual diarrhoea and rubbish. Apologies. My wife died on Wednesday. She went missing for nearly 24 hours before a search and rescue dog team found her body in a forest. The unbearable pressure of her job finally got to her. For years she has been giving everything she had to other people in her professional life and private life too. She really was the best of us.

‘Her job as a partner at a GP surgery became overwhelming. Especially during the pandemic. She was seeing patients face-to-face the whole time, as well as the unbelievable amount of telephone consultations that were happening. She saw old people dying in care homes during the pandemic, and was working at the vaccine centres. She was responsible for the training of multiple GPs over the years, she was currently training three of them. She also worked with other medical organisations like the CCG and many others. All that, and her patients too.

‘The pressure of not making mistakes, and the endless emails and paperwork meant that for the last few years of her life she’d been neglecting herself. She used to leave for work at 6.45am and not get home until usually between 19.30 and 20.00. When she arrived at home she would generally work until I made her go to bed at 11pm. 

That was a ‘lazy’ four days a week. On her ‘lazy’ day off on Thursdays, she would work for about 12 hours. Meetings on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, never-ending emails and calls. This tipped over into the weekends more recently. The same workload all weekend. Very recently she hasn’t ‘even had time for an hour’s dog walk. All that and running the business of the practice. Human resources was her responsibility too, and sadly, it turned out to be the thing that broke her.

‘Last Sunday afternoon she opened an email that hit her so hard that she never recovered. She went into a deep, deep depression from the Monday to the Wednesday, when she took her life. We tried to intervene. Her colleagues tried as hard as they could to get her out of it. Offering to take over for her, and trying to reassure her that her thinking about a situation was wrong. And it was wrong. She had lost the ability to think rationally. Something had gone wrong in her head. By the time we realised what was happening, it was already too late. Her colleagues told her to take some time off on Wednesday afternoon, and to go home.

 She never came home. Instead she drove to a forest, walked deep into it where she would be nearly impossible to find, and took her own life in the most violently shocking way. This was not a cry for help. This was clearly the only way she could see her suffering stopping. It’s been suggested that she suffered a psychotic episode. If you knew my wife, you’d know how far from normal any of this was for her. She was so proud of our boys, and would have never dreamed of doing anything to hurt them. However, mental illness had other ideas. Looking back, and talking to friends and family, I think she had been hiding it for years, while helping other people deal with their own mental health, she neglected her own. 

It’s such a sad waste of a wonderful, beautiful, funny and absolutely bananas wife, mother and doctor. All over something that had no relation to reality. The next time you hear somebody banging on about lazy doctors, please stop and think about what happened to my wife. We are in no doubt the job made her ill. Me and my boys are broken. Especially me. I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. We’d been together for thirty years this year. It was almost always lots of laughter and fun with huge amounts of piss-taking. My boys have lost their mother, and I have lost my best friend. 

Sorry about this post. I would like to say that normal service will resume, but it won’t. I’m broken. And finally… an hour after I found that Gail was dead, I had to take our dog to be put to sleep. Aggressive cancer had torn through her at a terrific rate. She spent her last 24 hours cuddled up between two police officers on our sofa. 

The police stayed with me from the time I reported my wife missing until the time they found her… And a bit longer too. I will be forever grateful to Thames Valley Police, and the team at Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue, who were the team that found her. No wife. No mother to our boys. No dog. And I thought losing my dad a year ago was bad. What was I thinking? There just aren’t enough GPs to cope, and now there is one less. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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