Stress led to more NHS staff absences than Covid

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“Burnout” and stress among doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health staff has cost the NHS in England more than 15m lost working days since March 2020, about 50% more than the days lost to Covid infections and self-isolation, analysis of official figures by the Observer reveals.

NHS sickness figures show that between March 2020, the month of the first Covid lockdown, and last September, 15.4m working days have been lost in the NHS because of stress-related absences, compared with 9.8m days lost from staff who were required to self-isolate or were ill with Covid.

The scale of the mental health toll staff are under is revealed as nurses in the Royal College of Nursing prepare to strike on Monday and Tuesday. Ambulance workers will also join nurses in taking strike action.

The NHS Confederation, the membership organisation for the NHS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, estimates that recent strikes have led to about 88,000 operations and outpatient appointments being cancelled.

NHS sickness absence rates showed that in most of the months that staff were battling the pandemic, stress, anxiety and other mental health illnesses accounted for more lost days of work than staff who had Covid or were self-isolating.

New figures from the BMA’s latest survey of junior doctors in England show that more than three-quarters of respondents (78%) felt unwell as a result of work-related stress in the past year. Most junior doctors (81%) who took part in the survey reported that their health and wellbeing has worsened, or not improved, since December 2021.

Read more via THE GUARDIAN

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