NHS vows to tackle sick days rise

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AMBULANCE staff and community healthcare staff are increasingly taking more time off work due to sickness NHS figures have revealed.

Of Wigan’s five health trusts, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust (Bridgewater) both saw an increase in the percentage of days lost due to staff sickness in 2012/13 when compared to the previous year.

NWAS saw 6.58 per cent of all working days lost due to staff sickness in 2012/13 - an increase of nearly one per cent, from 5.73 per cent in 2011/12.

Bridgewater, which provides community healthcare services such as community nursing and dentists, saw a similar rise from 4.45 per cent in 2011/12 to 5.08 per cent in 2012/13.

The 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) and Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (WBCCG - the former primary care trust) all saw a decrease in the number of days lost due to staff sickness last year.

The 5 Boroughs, which is responsible for mental health services in the borough, recorded that 5.12 per cent of days were lost due to sickness in 2012/13, down from 5.59 per cent the previous year.

WWL, who runs all three of the borough’s hospital sites saw 4.52 per cent of days lost due sickness, down from 4.59 per cent in 2011/12. And the former PC (WBCCG) saw a drop to 2.79 per cent in 2012/13, down from 3.02 per cent the previous year.

Both NWAS and the Bridgewater say they are working hard to reduce the number of days lost due to staff sickness.

A spokesman for Bridgewater said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority for the organisation. Our board regularly monitors sickness absence trends to ensure that we can safely deliver the services our patients need.

“While there has been an increase in sickness absence rates during the past year, we are taking positive steps to manage this.

“In April we contracted a new occupational health provider to support a proactive approach to health and wellbeing to enable staff to return to work as soon as possible. We also regularly inform staff about services and information that can support a healthy lifestyle and we actively promote the seasonal flu vaccination for all staff.

“During the past year we have also received accreditation as part of a number of schemes designed to support staff wellbeing including the Workplace Wellbeing Charter.”

NWAS also say they are working on ways to reduce the number of days lost.