NHS staff in South Tyneside among sickest in North East

Staff sickness rates at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields have increased.
Staff sickness rates at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields have increased.

Hospital staff in South Tyneside are among the sickest is the region as absence rates continue to rise.

The latest figures released for NHS sickness absence rates for the month of January show that 6.86% of workers at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust were off work.

We acknowledge that, for some time, we have had one of the highest rates of sickness absence amongst acute trusts in the North East.

Ian Frame, the trust’s executive director in personnel and development, said

This is higher than the North East average of 5.43 % and also above the England average of 4.70%.

The figure places the Trust as the second ‘sickest’ in the region, with only Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust coming in higher with 6.89 per cent.

However, trust bosses say they acknowledge the problem and are trying to improve the situation.

Ian Frame, the Trust’s executive director in personnel and development, said: “We acknowledge that, for some time, we have had one of the highest rates of sickness absence amongst acute trusts in the North East, and we are constantly trying to improve that situation.

“We are committed to promoting a culture of good staff attendance, whilst treating staff who suffer ill -health with understanding and giving them the necessary support that they require. This is recognised by our success in the Better Health at Work Awards each year.

“We do, however, have a number of staff who have long-term sickness problems, some with chronic illnesses, and their aggregated time off contributes significantly to the higher rate.

“These are highly skilled and experienced staff and we want to help them back into work in a safe way so that their sickness does not reoccur and they can resume work for many years ahead.”