Stress costs Trust 7,500 sick days

THE under-fire NHS trust which runs the Conquest Hospital lost more than 7,500 working days due to stress and anxiety among staff in just six months.

Figures obtained by the Observer this week under the Freedom of Information Act revealed East Sussex Healthcare Trust 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 Observer did ask for stress absence figures for the entire last 12 months, but was told that results would only be made available from April onwards, as that was when East Sussex Heathcare came into being after a series of mergers made the previous East Sussex Hospitals Trust redundant.

NHS information officer Trish Richardson said to include absence levels from before April would ‘not give an accurate picture of the absence days for this trust’.

A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare 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 workplace 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 workplace and an overall healthier lifestyle.”