Hospital staff lose 7,500 work days to stress

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MORE than 7,500 working days were lost due to stress and anxiety among hospital staff in just six months.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Conquest and Eastbourne DGH, suffered from 7,518 lost days between April and October last year.

That equates roughly to one day off due to stress for every single one of the trust’s 7,500-strong workforce and comes to light as NHS bosses struggle to wrestle hospital finances under control.

The trust, which was last week shown to have splashed out £4 million on outside consultants, is desperately trying to earmark mammoth savings of £30 million by the end of the financial year, which finishes on March 31.

Margaret Williams, chairman of Hands off the Conquest, said: “There is a lot of stress because of all of the upheaval going on. People are fearful for their jobs and the sooner all of this is clarified, the better.”

A trust spokesman however defended the findings, saying they represented little more than a drop in the ocean.

He said: “The number of staff days taken off for stress or anxiety between April and October equates to half a percent of the total full-time staff days during that time. The trust has a number of services available to help staff who maybe experiencing stress or anxiety in the work place or in their personal life.

“We have our own occupational health department that offers a counselling and psychology service and liaise with GPs.

We also have a health and well-being group who promote ways to reduce stress and anxiety in the work place and an overall healthier lifestyle.”