Staff sickness rates at Portsmouth Hospital Trust more than double as NHS faces increased pressures

STAFF sickness rates at Portsmouth Hospitals Trust have more than doubled as the NHS faces more post-Covid pressures.

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 3:21 pm

Figures from NHS Digital show trusts nationwide are grappling with absences.

Rates of absence across all roles nationally rose to six per cent in March 2022, above pre-pandemic levels of 4.1 per cent in 2019 of that month.

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QA Hospital, Portsmouth, on November 25, 2021. Picture Habibur Rahman.

This is the fourth highest monthly rate since the pandemic began.

For Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, 7.6 per cent of full-time staff days were lost due to sickness absence, with the rate being 2019 being 3.5 per cent.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that the high absence figures were ‘yet more evidence of the need for drastic action and investment in the nursing workforce’.

NHS workforce levels across the UK are fluctuating.

A recent report from a cross-party group of MPs, led by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, said the Government must tackle ‘the greatest workforce crisis in history in the NHS’.

Emma Runswick, the British Medical Association deputy chair of council, said: ‘If the Government continues to ignore this, the impact on health professionals, patients and the very health of our society does not bear thinking about.’

Figures show the number of full-time doctors at Portsmouth Hospitals Trust has risen from 1,008 last April to 1,090..

Levels of midwives have gone down however, from 171 to 165.

Suzanne Taylor, executive director at the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘Employers and the Government must step up, put in the resources, and show they really value their staff.’

NHS Digital figures also show nurse and health visitor numbers have climbed from 2,135 last April to 2,151 this year.