NHS Tayside workers accrue one millions sick hours in one year

George Doherty of NHS Tayside

Tayside health workers are taking more than a million hours a year in sick leave, new figures have revealed.

A response to a freedom of information request has shown NHS workers in the region have taken 4.4 million hours off sick between 2013/14 and 2016/17.

The figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, were branded “appalling” by the party’s North East MSP Mike Rumbles, who blamed the problem on a lack of funding.

He added: “That means less care for patients, lower morale among staff and even higher staff costs for our struggling health boards.

“Not everything is about money but in this case a decade of underfunding has put immense pressure on our overworked staff.”

George Doherty, NHS Tayside’s director of human resources and organisational development, said Tayside’s rate of sick leave was below the national average, and that ill staff were well-supported.

He continued: “Despite that strong performance, we acknowledge that there will always be room to improve.

“It is important that individual members of staff can feel confident to highlight when those life pressures begin to affect them, and to know that there is support for them at these times.”