NHS staff ‘sick­ies’ tak­ing a huge toll

Hun­dreds off daily and rate’s higher than av­er­age

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - John Row­botham

An av­er­age of about 300 NHS Forth Val­ley staff are off sick ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to lat­est fig­ures.

The author­ity em­ploys more than 6000 in places such as Forth Val­ley Royal, Stir­ling Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal and fa­cil­i­ties across the Stir­ling area.

At the meet­ing of NHS Forth Val­ley board last month, head of per­for­mance and gov­er­nance Elaine Van­hegan said the staff sick­ness ab­sence av­er­age was 5.26 per cent be­tween Au­gust, 2016, and July – slightly higher than the 5.23 per cent Scot­tish av­er­age.

A spokesman for the board said at­ten­dance rates tended to fluc­tu­ate from month to month.

Lat­est pro­vi­sional fig­ures, for Au­gust 2017, show NHS Forth Val­ley at 4.73 per cent which is lower than the na­tional av­er­age of 5.09 per cent and their sec­ond­low­est rate in seven years.

She added: “Like other health boards across Scot­land, we con­tinue to work to­wards the na­tional tar­get of four per cent and each direc­torate has an agreed ac­tion plan to de­liver fur­ther im­prove­ments.

“The health and well­be­ing of our staff is ex­tremely im­por­tant, and our oc­cu­pa­tional health de­part­ment has a num­ber of mea­sures in place to help any em­ployee who is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing health dif­fi­cul­ties.

“We of­fer em­ployee coun­selling ser­vices, stress aware­ness cour­ses and a staff psy­chol­o­gist works with the de­part­ment.

“Em­pha­sis is also placed on staff val­ues with our staff in their teams work­ing to­gether. This is ben­e­fi­cial for good men­tal health and well­be­ing.”

Ms Van­hegan also re­ported at the board meet­ing that the Emer­gency De­part­ment at FVRH was sub­ject to mon­i­tor­ing three times a day by the Scot­tish Govern­ment be­cause of in­con­sis­ten­cies in the wait­ing times for peo­ple seek­ing treat­ment there.

Min­is­ters say 95 per cent of pa­tients should wait for A&E treat­ment no longer than four hours from ar­rival to ad­mis­sion, dis­charge or trans­fer, and board’s should be work­ing to­wards a 98 per cent tar­get.

Board mem­bers were told that in Au­gust, 93.5 per cent of pa­tients were seen within the tar­get time al­though seven waited longer than eight hours.

Of the 458 pa­tients that waited longer than four hours in Au­gust, 284 were due to a wait for first as­sess­ment and 18 breaches were due to wait for a bed.

Ms Van­hegan said: “Achiev­ing the 95 per cent tar­get on a con­sis­tent ba­sis con­tin­ues to be chal­leng­ing. Dis­cus­sion has taken place with the Scot­tish Govern­ment re­gard­ing NHS Forth Val­ley’s vari­a­tion in per­for­mance and what fur­ther sup­port may be re­quired.

“How­ever, through­out the months of July and Au­gust there were 15 oc­ca­sions where at­ten­dances at the de­part­ment were well above av­er­age with be­tween 190 and 212 pa­tients pre­sent­ing.

“In Septem­ber, Emer­gency De­part­ment per­for­mance has been in­con­sis­tent with per­for­mance re­peat­edly be­low 92 per cent. Thrice daily mon­i­tor­ing by the Scot­tish

Govern­ment was recom­menced on Septem­ber 12 and this will re­main in place un­til the de­part­ment achieves 92 per cent com­pli­ance with the four hour wait for 10 con­sec­u­tive days.”

Sick­ness Around 300 NHS staff are ab­sent each day in Forth Val­ley area

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