A new report has expressed concern that the forthcoming reorganisation of NHS trusts in Wales could lead to a rise in sickness absence among employees.
According to a study by the National Assembly for Wales Audit, sickness absence rates had stabilised at 5.3-5.4% between 2004 to 2008 after the measures to improve sickness management.
This was better than the 6% figure reported for 2002-03. The committee said the new measures generated additional staff hours and saved up to £6m every year by helping avoid extra expenditure on replacement staff, such as agency nurses.
The committee, however, has warned that the NHS should be “mindful” of the possible effect on staff morale and the stress it could cause if the proposed revamp is not properly executed.
Its chairman Jonathan Morgan said: “The committee recognises that there are circumstances peculiar to the NHS that may contribute to high levels of absence but it is nonetheless important that this is managed well.
“High levels of sickness absence are not good for staff, the NHS or the patients it serves, and managers should be mindful of that fact during the forthcoming reorganisation process.”
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