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NHS staff took 5.7million sick days due to ill mental health during pandemic


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Official figures found just 8,921 calls were made to the staff mental health hotline, despite the striking number of sick leave needed

A survey conducted by the NHS charity Mind found emergency staff battling high levels of depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal ideation
A survey conducted by the NHS charity Mind found emergency staff battling high levels of depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal ideation

NHS staff were left struggling to grapple with distressing workloads during the coronavirus pandemic as figures reveal 5.7million sick days were taken last year.

Official NHS figures reveal just 8,921 calls were made to the staff mental health hotline, despite the striking number of sick leave needed.

And the sick days which were taken in relation to ill mental health outweigh sick leave taken because of Covid-19, Labour analysis reveals.

For every 1,000 mental health sick days taken, just one call to the hotline is made.

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The mental health charity Mind have said NHS staff have been covering colleagues dealing with death and fearing for their own health
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Image:

POOL/AFP via Getty Images)



The shockingly low numbers of calls were revealed in an official Parliamentary Question asked by Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP.

Mental health charity Mind conducted a survey which found high levels of depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal ideation amongst emergency services staff.

Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said the high levels of absence indicate an urgent need for the Government to prioritise employee wellbeing.

She told the Mirror: “The pandemic has disproportionately affected key workers, including our hard-working NHS staff, who have been putting their own health and wellbeing at risk to save others.

“It is likely that factors like covering for colleagues who are unwell or self-isolating, longer working hours, excessive workload, dealing with death and bereavement, and concerns about their own health and that of their loved ones could also be contributing to poor mental health.








NHS staff, members of trade unions and health campaigners march along Whitehall during a protest demanding 15% pay increase for health workers
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Image:

Barcroft Media via Getty Images)



“As the nation begins to deal with the mental health implications of the pandemic and the economic recession which followed, investing in staff mental health has never been more important.”

Ms Allin-Khan said: “From a lack of PPE, lack of mental health support and now a botched pay rise, the Government treats NHS workers with disdain.

“It is simply unacceptable. The Government must prioritise long-term mental health support for NHS staff – or we will see the impact for years to come.”

It comes after NHS staff from the hospital which saved Boris Johnson from Covid last year protested against the three per cent pay rise outside Number 10.

Frontline staff had demanded a decent pay increase after a decade of below-inflation deals which has left many around 15% worse off in real terms.









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