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Sick leave “costing NHS Scotland £160m a year”

13 November 2007

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A new report shows that sick leave among workers in Scotland’s National Health Service has reached record levels.

According to the study, the average NHS worker in the country is sick for 13 days of the year, and the absences are costing the service £160m annually.

The figures cover the whole range of staff employed by the NHS, ranging from doctors and nurses, to cleaners and porters.

The report shows that NHS Lanarkshire had the worst sickness rate in 2006-07, at 6.3%, while NHS Orkney had the best, at 4.3%.

Margaret Watt, who chairs the Scotland Patients’ Association, said: “Our NHS staff are under extreme pressure, and it is telling on their health.

“The morale of doctors, nurses and consultants is very low and when morale is low, illness hits them the hardest.

“There is a high incidence of stress, depression and other ailments.”

Scotland’s health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “We have been carrying out a programme of visits to NHS boards.

“We have used these reviews to scrutinise performance, challenge where necessary and drive forward further improvement, including sickness absence.”

NHS Scotland

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