A HOSPITAL staff worker killed herself after claiming that she was bullied at work, a Court was told.

Jane Lidstone, 55, was found hanged at her Hampshire home after she complained that she was being victimised at Southampton General Hospital, where she worked for eight years.

The mum-of-three felt that she was being bullied and that attempts were being made to move her out of the department.

Southampton Coroner’s Court heard how Mrs Lidstone had a history of depression, which hospital bosses were aware of, as she had taken time off due to her illness and had previously attempted suicide.

Problems arose when a new computer system was being installed in the patient records department, effectively leaving Mrs Lidstone in charge of manning a helpdesk for hospital staff who were experiencing problems.

Mrs Lidstone’s husband of 30 years, Nicholas, told the court how in the months before her death his wife had told him that she was being unfairly criticised over her work, primarily by her line manager Denise Hewitt.

He said: “For whatever reason Jane was picked on and there was no compassion from her managers. There was no arm around the shoulder that again I would have expected from a hospital.

“I feel like there was bullying.”

Jane Hayward, director of organisational development at the hospital trust, said that attempts were made to lighten Mrs Lidstone’s workload and a series of meetings were held.

However, after one meeting Mrs Lidstone wrote: “I have felt intimidated by Denise for some considerable time and this has been noted by my other work colleagues. She has been very critical of me, to the extent that I have felt quite bullied.”

The court heard how Mrs Lidstone was also given the opportunity to apply for a job in another department, which turned out to be beneath the pay grade she was on.

Although she did not file an official complaint about bullying, Mrs Lidstone had involved her union Unison, the court heard.

Mrs Lidstone, who was under the care of mental health services, was found hanged at her home in Butts Ash Lane, Hythe, on May 18.

In returning a verdict that Mrs Lidstone took her own life, deputy coroner Graham Denson said that the efforts by the management to help Mrs Lidstone could have been misconstrued.

He said: “There appears to be a dichotomy of views as to whether the hospital on the one hand were endeavouring to help Jane through these times or whether she felt she was being in effect bullied within and by the system.

Taking all the evidence before me into account I find the former.”

After the inquest Mr Lidstone said: “The main purpose today was to make sure that no one else has to go through what we have done. I would like them to learn lessons over how this was handled.

I hope they do.”

Unison spokesman David Prout said: “We were providing support to Mrs Lidstone and I know our representative was very concerned about the way she was being treated, particularly criticisms over her pace of work and her being supervised by someone else in another office.”

The hospital declined to comment following the verdict but Mrs Hayward said: “This is a terrible tragedy and we would like to express our condolences to Mrs Lidstone’s family.

“We note the coroner’s remarks and I have spoken to Mr Lidstone and offered to meet with him if he would like to discuss his concerns.”