Workers are having around three times as much time away from work with mental health issues than with COVID-19
The number of NHS workers away from work with mental health-related absences has hit an all-time high, according to new data.
The data reveals that almost 4,000 more NHS staff were off work in June 2021 than at the same time last year.
Research from wellbeing group FirstCare suggests that workers are having around three times as much time away from work with mental health issues than with COVID-19.
A staggering 2.5 million working days have been lost in the NHS due to mental health-related absence which equates to a financial cost of £371 million.
The most precious commodity.
FirstCare has called for a close look at the mental health and wellbeing of NHS workers.
Ian Caminsky, Chief Executive Officer at FirstCare said; “It’s important we take care of the most precious commodity in the NHS, the health of frontline workers. To do this, we need to take a proactive and preventative stance.
“Unfortunately, leaders are often looking at their team’s mental wellbeing through a rear-view mirror. This lack of real-time insight into the wellbeing of frontline workers, means early evidence-based interventions to address wellbeing in the workforce cannot be taken.
Suzanne Marshall, Clinical Governance Officer at FirstCare added; “Our data shows 60% of staff leave their job after two mental health-related absences, making early recognition of the symptoms and an open conversation critical to helping avoid the development of more serious illness and increased time off.”
Nothing left to give.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says the workforce has nothing left to give.
Matthew Barker, interim deputy director of nursing, policy and public affairs at the RCN, said: “The past year has taken a great toll on the nursing teams’ wellbeing; many are telling us they have no more reserves and don’t know how they will continue at this pace.
“The added pressure and emotional trauma experienced by all nursing staff, whatever setting they are working in, means there is a very clear need for them to have easy access to support now and in the future.
“Our health and care services can’t afford to lose any member of the nursing team.”
Mr Barker went on to call for a long-term solution to the problem.