NHS Tayside has the lowest coronavirus-related staff sickness rates of any health board in Scotland, it has emerged.
At a recent board meeting, members said rigorous methods put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, such as making sure staff were wearing the correct PPE, had contributed to the low numbers
Professor Peter Stonebridge, NHS Tayside’s medical director, said testing its staff members was key to achieving this.
He said: Covid-related sickness rates are the lowest in Scotland, so our measures have protected our staff and protected out patients.
“Our testing procedures have paid dividends.”
In a report presented at the meeting, the health board said PPE was handed out to all the staff who needed it, and they were also given tutorials to ensure they knew how to use it correctly.
Very early on in the pandemic, NHS Tayside made testing available to all its staff, and was the first health board in Scotland to test its health and social care staff for Covid-19, including their household contacts.
More than 5,000 samples from across Tayside have now been tested by the health board’s virology labs since testing began on March 12.
And an investigation by NHS Tayside and Dundee University has estimated more than 8,000 lost working days were prevented in the first three weeks of the staff testing programme alone.
NHS Tayside has also set up 14 rest, relax and recharge areas across its sites, which are spaces away from the clinical areas to help staff unwind over a coffee or a book in a bid to boost staff wellbeing and mental health.
And in total, 426 members of staff were identified as shielding within NHS Tayside.
The health board now says these members of staff are now being supported with phased returns to work.