Paramedics taking tens of thousands of days a year off sick with stress

Staff shortages, pressure to meet response targets, long shifts and emotional toll said to explain rise in stress-related sick days

According to a Guardian article today, paramedics are taking tens of thousands of days a year off sick with stress, as growing numbers of 999 calls add to the pressure on NHS ambulance services.
The number of days being lost to paramedics having time off work because they are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health conditions is rising, official figures show.

Statistics have revealed that paramedics working for seven of England’s 10 NHS regional services have been signed off sick with such ailments for 183,962 days in the last four years. In all, 35,872 days were lost for that reason in 2013-14; that went up to 41,412 in 2015-16. Figures for the first nine months of 2016-17 suggest last year’s total will be even higher.

Paramedics and health unions claim staff shortages, pressure to meet 999 response targets, routinely long shifts lasting up to 15 hours and the emotional toll of dealing with sick patients and their families are behind the trend. There is concern that stress leave is exacerbating the existing pressures on ambulance services’ ability to respond fast enough to the increasing number of emergency calls at a time when vacancies and early retirement are widespread.

Full article here: