Thousands of NHS workers are ‘too stressed or depressed to work’

Between December 2017 and November 2018 NHS staff took 17.7 million sick days.

Matt Bodell
28 August 2019
health and wellbeing support for NHS staff

Mental health condition such as stress, anxiety, depression make up 4.2 million sick days.

Figure from NHS Digital have revealed that thousands of NHS workers are ‘too stressed to work’


Last year between December 2017 and November 2018 NHS workers in England took 17.7 million days sick.

Mental health condition such as stress, anxiety and depression made up 4.2 million of these days. This is more than double the amount of days taken for musculoskeletal conditions or a cold.

This news comes only weeks after we revealed that an upward trend in sickness absence days has coincided with a rise in demand for NHS services and a vacancy rate at an all-time high.

Urgent action is needed.

Unison claims that the intolerable working conditions seen throughout the health service are pushing NHS employees to the brink. They warn that without urgent action – the situation. could only worsen.


Helga Pile, Deputy Head of Health for the Union said; “Chronic staff shortages mean NHS employees are routinely asked to do more with fewer resources as they desperately try to keep the service afloat,”

“The government urgently needs to invest in the NHS to cut staff shortages and reduce burnout, and workers who have anxiety, depression and stress must get rapid access to mental health support services.”

Barriers to disclosure.

MIND claims that many healthcare workers are worried about being deemed unfit to practice if they ask for help.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at the Charity, said; “We know there can be particular barriers for healthcare staff when disclosing a mental health problem to their employer, such as fears about being deemed unfit to practise,”


“Those of us with mental health problems can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace, it just means some of us might need extra support from time to time.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments