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Hospital staff took extra 1,000 sick days in year dominated by Covid-19

Staff working at a hospital took more than 1,000 extra days off sick in 2020 compared to 2019.

Stafford County Hospital

Data held by the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) showed a total of 28,114 sick days were taken by staff at Stafford County Hospital in 2020.

The figures, from a Freedom of Information request, compared to 26,595 sick days taken by staff working at the hospital in 2019.

Ro Vaughan, Director of Human Resources at the trust, said: “Preserving and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of staff has been our priority since the start of the pandemic.

“We recognise our staff have worked tirelessly for the last 12 months and it is essential we continuously support their physical and mental wellbeing, enabling them to stay healthy and protect themselves, their colleagues, patients and families as we continue to deliver services through this challenging period.

“We know this will be a long process and will ensure our comprehensive package of wellbeing support such as staff counselling and psychological support is available all year round.”

The trust also said staff had been offered additional annual leave to take as a Wellbeing Day, while money from NHS charity donations had been used to create additional Staff Rest Areas at the hospital, to ensure staff could take breaks away from the clinical environment.

A study conducted last year by the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England revealed NHS staff were six times more likely to return a positive Covid-19 test than members of the public in other occupations.

Sick days taken by County Hospital staff related to fixed term and permanent employees only.

By Harry Thomas-Humphreys

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