Figures revealed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show that 1.1million working hours were lost in NHS Grampian and 1million in NHS Tayside due to staff illness in 2016/17. A total of 8.8millon hours have been lost since 2013/14.
The Scottish Government has come under fire from North East MSP Mike Rumbles for repeatedly underfunding local health services in the North East since 2009, to the tune of £165million, putting greater pressure on staff and resources.
Data obtained from both health boards under the Freedom of Information Act confirms that both North East Health Boards are among the top five in Scotland for staff taking time off work for illness. A recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing found that 40 per cent of nurses in Scotland say money worries are making them lose sleep. More than 60% have said they are too busy to deliver the quality of care that they would like.
Mr Rumbles said: “Two million staff hours lost to illness last year in the North East alone is an appalling statistic. That means less care for patients, lower morale among staff and even higher staff costs for our struggling health boards.
“Over the past decade the Scottish Government has utterly failed to deliver on even their own reduced targets of 90% of the average health board funding for NHS Grampian. Not everything is about money but in this case a decade of underfunding has put immense pressure on our overworked staff. It is no wonder that our local health services as plagued with poorly staff and a lack of resources.
“The SNP have refused to deliver health care that works for communities in the North East. That is why we have some of the worst outcomes for patients in Scotland. The solution is simple, provide the funding we need.”
Notes for editors:
- Scottish Liberal Democrats asked each health board how many staff hours have been lost to sickness in each year since 2013-14: