Portsmouth council staff take 31,000 sick days off a year

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  • Portsmouth City Council report shows workers take an average of eight-and-a-half days off through illness a year
  • The latest report shows a slight decrease since the previous period
  • A top councillor has welcomed the drop but admitted more work is still needed
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COUNCIL workers are taking an average of eight-and-a-half days off every year through sickness, a report has revealed.

More than 31,000 days have been lost through illness across Portsmouth City Council between February 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018.

This number surges to just more than 50,000 when factoring in those staff employed at council-run schools.

Figures show that the latest period of illness has seen a slight reduction from the previous year, with average illness rates.

The council’s sickness rate target is seven days, two above the average figure in the private sector.

However, despite the overall downward trend, there are a number of departments within the authority that have seen a spike, the report said.

Five of the council’s 12 departments are over the corporate target of seven sick days, while three recorded an average of 10 or more.

This includes adult services, with staff recording an average of 12.47 days off ill and public health, who took off 12.6 days each year.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the council’s heath boss, said the authority was doing well to drive down the sickness rates, but added there was still work to do.

Cllr Stubbs said: ‘A few years ago it was a lot worse, the average number was about 12. It’s come down significantly since then.

‘There has been substantial progress but there is still work to be done. These are big problems and almost institutional problems that we are working to address.’

The vast majority of absences are due to three main areas: musculoskeletal issues, anxiety/stress/psychological problems and colds/flus/viruses.

Combined, these account for more than half of all council’s sickness figures.

Cllr Stubbs added some departments had higher figures than others for good reasons.

He said half of the adult social care force worked in care homes and that they took more time off due to stringent health hygiene rules, meaning staff had to take additional days off until all symptoms of a cold had disappeared.

‘The situation is slowly improving,’ added Cllr Stubbs. ‘Sickness rates are getting better.’

As part of the city council’s effort to drive down sickness rates, workers are being offered more support by the authority’s public health body, Cllr Stubbs added.