Nearly 350,000 days were lost in the Welsh NHS last year due to mental health illnesses

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Health Assured team

03 March 2017

Nearly 350,000 days of absence were recorded last year in the Welsh NHS due to mental health illness, new figures have revealed.   A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Welsh Conservatives revealed that anxiety, stress, depression and other unspecified psychiatric illnesses affected 7,945 staff members in 2015-16.   Mental health illness accounted for more days of absence across the Welsh NHS than any other condition.   A total of 345,957 days of absence were recorded – equivalent to 948 years – with workers taking on average 46 days’ leave at a time.   But in response the Welsh Government said sickness absence decreased on the same period the preceding year.   Excerpt from Wales Online, read the full article here.   CIPD Absence Management Report 2016   The CIPD is the professional body for HR and people development. The not-for-profit organisation champions better work and working lives and has been setting the benchmark for excellence in people and organisation development for more than 100 years. It has more than 140,000 members across the world, provides thought leadership through independent research on the world of work, and offers professional training and accreditation for those working in HR and learning and development.   Absence levels The average level of employee absence (6.3 days per employee) has decreased in all sectors and is at its lowest level for seven years.   Cost of absence The overall median cost of absence per employee (£522) has fallen slightly compared with previous years, corresponding with the decrease in absence levels.   Causes of absence The main causes of absence are similar to previous years. Minor illness remains the most common cause of short-term absence, followed by stress. Stress, acute medical conditions and mental ill health continue to be the most common causes of long-term absence.   Short-term absence The main causes of short-term absence (up to four weeks) are similar to previous years. Stress and musculoskeletal injuries are among the top five causes of short-term absence, although, as in previous years, musculoskeletal injuries are more common for manual workers, while stress is more common for non-manual workers.   Long-term absence Stress and acute medical conditions remain the top causes of long-term absence (four weeks or more) followed by mental ill health, musculoskeletal injuries and back pain. Nearly 20% include home/family/carer responsibilities among their top five causes of long-term absence.   Presenteeism Nearly three-quarters of respondents, across all sectors and sizes of organisation, report they have observed ‘presenteeism’ – people coming to work when unwell – within their organisations. Forty-five per cent of these report that up to a quarter of staff come to work when sick, but one in five (18%) report that more than half do (15% don’t know the proportion affected). A higher proportion of people coming to work ill is associated with a culture of long working hours.

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