Monday 27 March 2017

Revealed: huge scale of hospital sick leave

HSE absenteeism rate almost double that of private sector

Eilish O'Regan and Fiach Kelly

THE shocking scale of sick leave across the health service is revealed today -- with one major hospital losing more than 90 staff a day on average.

Absenteeism rates are so high in another hospital that nearly one in 10 staff is calling in sick every day, the Irish Independent has learned.

The worst hit is Ennis General Hospital in Co Clare, where absenteeism levels are running at 9.43pc, leaving it struggling to cope with an average of 22 missing staff from its 238 workforce daily.

The emergence of certain hospitals as absenteeism "blackspots" comes in the wake of revelations that more than 1,100 staff in the HSE West area are off sick every day.

That represents an overall 5pc absenteeism rate in the region, but internal figures reveal that the problem is significantly worse at several hospitals. These include Limerick Maternity Hospital, which has a daily absenteeism rate of 7.93pc -- the equivalent of 25 workers out of its 319 staff.

Sligo Regional Hospital has a staff of 1,368 but an absenteeism rate of 6.92pc -- leaving it 94 employees down every day.

Nationally, the HSE's absenteeism rate is 4.85pc, which leaves it without more than 5,000 of its 104,851 staff across its offices, hospitals and other services on any given day.

The HSE figures compare with an absenteeism rate of 2.58pc in the private sector.

The knock-on effect is that the health service -- already struggling with the ban on recruitment in the public sector -- has to hire more temporary outside staff to cover for sick workers.

Irish Independent

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