Emergency Services Staff Taking 47% More Sick Leave Since 2010 Budget Cuts

Ellen Lees
By Ellen Lees,
updated on Apr 16, 2018

Emergency Services Staff Taking 47% More Sick Leave Since 2010 Budget Cuts

Last year 999 staff took almost 700,000 days off for mental health concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD

It seems that since budget cuts were made in 2010 by the Conservatives, emergency workers are suffering more than ever. It was found that in 2017, police, firefighters and paramedics took more than 690,000 days sick leave - equivalent to 1,906 years - for mental health related issues.

This number is up 225,000 days from 2010, in which these are costing an estimated £90 million a year. In the same period, staff levels were cut by more than 35,000.

Ambulance services are the worst affected, with 4.5 days off per person, followed by police with 2.9 days.

Paramedic Dave Harris, said: “The situation has definitely got worse since 2010 and the workload has become absolutely relentless.

“I’ve seen colleagues in floods of tears, unable to carry on.

“The huge rise in sickness absence is an indication of the enormous levels of stress being suffered by staff,” said Kevin Brandstatter of the GMB union.

“Successive ministers have buried their heads in the sand, leaving the emergency services at breaking point. This must end now.”

Shadow Health Secretary, Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth said: “Staff across our emergency services face increasing pressure because of the neglect of this Tory government.

“For Labour it will be a priority to do more to care for the women and men who put their lives on the line."

Workplace wellbeing

According to Mind, at least one in six workers are experiencing common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

While the conversation of mental health is becoming more commonplace in society, in the workplace it is still a taboo subject. There is a culture of fear and silence about mental health in the workplace, and this is costing employers between £33 and £32 billion a year.

For more information on work-related stress, and how you can support your colleagues or employees, visit Counselling Directory.

Talking about your mental health - to anyone - can be frightening, but talking to your employer is something else. It’s not easy, but with a little information, the conversation can be a lot less daunting. Read our article on Reporting a Mental Health Issue at Work.

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