“Understaffed underfunded and under -resourced” NHS staff stress-related absences rise by a fifth

By Nicolle Cassels

OVER one million days of work have been lost by NHS staff since 2015 due to stress related illnesses ,new statistics show.

The information obtained by the Labour Party shows the number of staff absent because of stress, anxiety and depression has risen by 17% over the past three years in Scotland.

Nicole, a mental health nurse from Carluke, feels more must be done to support staff in such demanding conditions. She said:

“I feel people expect NHS staff to be able to do deliver high quality care in a timely manner while also being understaffed, underfunded and under resourced“.

” I have no doubt that at some point in my career i will be off due to one of the mentioned illness if things don’t change.

“I think NHS staff are overworked due to the high demand of patients alongside a shortage of staff.

“Staff can be asked to do the impossible at times looking after a ward full of patients with individual needs and not being fully staffed.

“Staff shortages can be the result of absences related to stress and burnout and the lack of funding the NHS have.

She added : “As a mental health nurse due to working in certain environments we can be verbally and physically assaulted by patients but are expected to pick ourselves up and carry on with our job.

“Ultimately the NHS needs more funding to help relieve stress of nurses by getting in more staff and getting better resources that can then help us to deliver high quality care.

The majority of health boards, 10, recorded an increase in these types of absences during that time, with only four showing a decrease.

Figures revealed a particular rise within NHS Fife with around a 30% increase in staff absences over the past 3 years.

Anne, a staff nurse from North Lanarkshire, says a lot more could be done to help these figures. She said:

“They need to reduce workload, increase staffing levels, provide more support at work and support staff with a work life balance.”

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “Stress-related absences in our NHS have rocketed in recent years, causing the equivalent of more than one million work days to be lost.

“It’s obvious that people working in the NHS are being pushed to the limit, often delivering high levels of care to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing.

“The SNP has created a staffing crisis in our health service, with more than 3,000 nursing and midwifery posts lying unfilled.

She added: “The SNP has created stress and anxiety for patients and staff but it was Labour who created the NHS and we will not accept this complacency from a tired and timid government.

“Hardworking and dedicated NHS staff deserve better than this.”

A spokesman for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “We take the welfare of hardworking NHS staff very seriously, and every health board is required to have robust policies in place when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of employees.

“But we will take absolutely no lectures from Labour when it comes to staffing.

“It is the SNP which has delivered record high NHS staff numbers, up by more than 12,000 on the number inherited from Labour – and we have also delivered record health funding, in contrast to Labour’s plan at the last election to spend even less than the Tories.”

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