One-in-twelve staff at Northampton General Hospital have taken sick days over stress and anxiety

One-in-twelve staff have taken a day off at NGH in the past year for mental health reasons.
One-in-twelve staff have taken a day off at NGH in the past year for mental health reasons.

The stress faced by Northampton General Hospital's staff has been made plain by a recent report showing over a fifth of sickness absences are because of anxiety, depression and mental wellbeing.

In the past year, Northampton's hospital lost over 15,000 working days to staff taking unplanned time-off because of stress and mental health.

These absences were taken by just over 400 members of staff - meaning one-in-twelve the hospital's 4,800 staff have taken time off for stress and mental health reasons.

It marks a national trend showing how the NHS is under pressure to deliver its frontline services and comes after NGH was escalated to its highest state of alert 18 times between January and May.

And in January, the hospital saw its busiest day ever when over 500 people visited the A&E department.

In a paper presented to the hospital's executive board on Thursday (May 31), a list of the top five reasons staff took absences was published.

Anxiety, stress, depression and other psychological health needs topped the list and accounted for over 22 per cent of all absences between May 2017 and April 2018.

The paper read that this was "largely indicative of the pressures staff were feeling".

The other most common causes of absences included injuries, upset stomachs and back problems.

In the whole of 2017, Opel four - the operational pressure rating given at times of intense busy periods - was only declared 32 times.

But bosses have already had to declare the status 18 times between January 1 and March 1 this year.

Northampton General Hospital has been contacted for a comment.