Increase in Portsmouth City Council employees sick days draws criticism

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PORTSMOUTH’S health chief has said an increase in the number of sick days taken by council employees is ‘not good enough’.

From December 2011 to March this year the average number of days off for illness per employee rose to 9.4 from 9.1 – the highest level since December 2010.

The total number of days across the council for the quarter went from 9,750 to 10,313. The department with the highest proportion of days lost to sickness was legal, licensing and registrars – which lost 7.3 per cent – with the port, revenues and benefits, and housing management not far behind.

The top reason for sickness was viruses, which included colds, coughs and influenza.

Lib Dem cabinet member for health Cllr Leo Madden said: ‘We are going around in circles over this.

‘We have got to differentiate between genuine sickness and people swinging the lead.’

He will now lead a cross-party working group and speak to all the heads of department to try and find out how to reduce sickness.