Statistics which raise a range of concerns centred upon staff absence have been shared by the NHS Trust which manages Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital.
Blackpool’s Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation have reported that more than 6% of staff are off ill at any one time. Anxiety, stress, depression and other psychiatric illness are the main underpinning reasons for long term absence from duty. Over 35% of long-term absences stem from these mental health illnesses, which additionally also are the cause of over a quarter of short term nonattendance for workers at the over-stretched hospital. The Trust also reports that 15% of short term staff absence is a result of coughs, colds and flu. Not only does this absence from work have an impact on patient care and fellow colleagues’ additional duties, but it also has financial consequences. There has been higher than anticipated spending both on additional agency staff and on enhanced rates of pay for existing staff to cover shifts as the hospital strives to meet the demands of an ever increasing workload.
Meanwhile, management at the Victoria Hospital are to allocate £5 million to digitise over 450,000 sets of patient records which are currently held on paper in traditional files. These documents will, when the scanning process is complete, be then viewed on computer screens, rather than by searching through a massive bank of often handwritten files.