Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today revealed that more than 45 million hours have been lost by NHS boards to staff ill health during the past four years and said the immense pressure staff are under could account for rates rising.
Data obtained from health boards under the Freedom of Information Act reveals that the number of hours lost to illness increased from 11.4 million hours in 2014-15 to 13.1 million hours in 2016-17, with the number rising year on year.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
“The SNP Government has utterly failed to deliver a step change in mental health or provide the right levels of support for our NHS staff. The result is a spiralling bill of health problems.
“The tremendous pressure on health workers on shift is spilling over and affecting their quality of life.
“A recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing found that 40 per cent of nurses say money worries are making them lose sleep. More than 60% said that last shift they are too busy to deliver the quality of care that they would like.
"The Scottish Government's workforce plan isn't up to scratch. Hundreds of posts are lying vacant for months on end. Nicola Sturgeon's decision to cut training places has come back to bite.
“SNP ministers have relied on the goodwill of NHS staff for far too long and the impact can be seen in their health. The Scottish Government must ensure that NHS staff get the support and resources they need to deliver the best possible care and that starts with proper workforce planning to ensure they are no longer overworked and overburdened.”