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Drug and alcohol abuse behind NHS staff absence

7,000 days lost to booze or drugs last year

NHS staff took almost 7,000 days of sick leave because of alcohol or drug abuse last year, figures show.

Between December 2017 and November 2018, NHS employees across England were sick for the equivalent of 19 years, according to NHS Digital.

A total of 107 NHS trusts and three Clinical Commissioning Groups recorded staff absences because of substance abuse last year, the Daily Mail reports.

Mark Leyshon, senior research and policy manager at Alcohol Change UK, noted that people may drink to cope with work-related stress and other pressures.

He said: “Drinking to manage stress may be common, but that doesn’t mean it works – it may even increase anxiety longer term.

“It also impacts on work performance, resulting in absenteeism, impaired decision-making and damaged relations with co-workers – and in the vital roles done by NHS employees these performance problems have a particularly concerning potential impact.”

The figures do not distinguish between sick leave taken by medical staff responsible for patient care and administrative and managerial staff.