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Nearly 50m hours lost to sickness absence among Scottish NHS staff

Mental ill-health was the number one cause

There have been more than 45 million hours lost to sickness absence among Scottish NHS staff since 2016, figures show.

A freedom of information request submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats reveals the number of hours lost per year has risen from 11.6m hours in 2016 to 13.7m hours in 2018.

For almost every health board the number one reason for absences was listed as “anxiety, stress, depression and other psychiatric illnesses.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said the figures reveal the toll that mental ill-health is having on staff.

“The fact that the number one reason for staff absence is mental health conditions should make the Scottish Government pause and think again,” he added. “The SNP’s waiting time improvement plan has been a total failure. It does not take a brain surgeon to work out that you will not improve performance when staff are forced to work in pressure cooker conditions shift after shift.”