Yesterday, in the media I noticed a new report highlighting a story that NHS staff are taking an increasing amount of time off sick. According to Reuters its staff take an average of 10.7 days off sick a year, it adds:
“The levels of sickness mean 10.3 million working days are lost in the NHS in England each year, equivalent to 45,000 staff calling in sick every day.”
The Health Service Journal also adds:
“The review recommends trusts improve access to occupational health services and encourage staff to have healthier lifestyles. Staff and health wellbeing should be placed alongside quality, innovation, productivity and prevention.”
In my view conflict resolution also plays an important role here because in 2005 more than 100,000 staff were attacked whilst doing their jobs. Thankfully these numbers have come down by around half to 50,000, due to better staff training in dealing with these types of situations. I believe that with more effective conflict resolution training these numbers can be reduced even further. If NHS staff are attacked it’s not just the physical injuries they sustain but the stress caused from that particular incident. They need to be trained and shown either how to stop a situation from flaring up and how to defend themselves accordingly if it does.
My advice to the NHS would be to focus on improving the level of training across the board, where possible take on specialists, to improve the level of training don’t just do it as a tick box exercise. As specialists in these field we go into a far greater depth with our training as it has been built on our 25 years of experience.
If regular training is provided, communications are improved, security levels heightened and CCTV coverage increased, I think this will go along way to reducing the amount of staff taking time of sick due to stress in the NHS. Let’s not forget these people do a truly fantastic job and they need to work in a environment which is a as safe and protected as possible.