Sheffield health trust worst in country for staff mental health sick leave

Staff at a Sheffield NHS body are more stressed, depressed and anxious than at any other health trust in the country.

By Dan Hayes
Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 5:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th September 2019, 3:26 pm

New figures showed 38 per cent of staff absences at the Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust were down to mental health problems, the largest proportion in England.

The news comes as the trust seeks to recover from allegations a senior manager was responsible for creating a culture of ‘bullying, fear and harassment’ in one of its directorates.

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Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

A whistleblower alleged this led to more than 10 staff leaving the department due to depression and stress, although the trust last week said a report into the matter would not be made public.

And in July, the union Unison said they had called off six months of negotiations between trust staff and management over a 2017 service reorganisation which they claimed had led to led to an increase in mental health problems among workers.

A spokesman for Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working in the NHS, especially in mental health services, can be really tough.

“We support people who are sometimes in their darkest moments, and that can be a difficult thing to deal with on a daily basis.

“The health and wellbeing of our staff is our top priority, and we’ve ensured that all our staff have access to a range of occupational health support for both their physical and mental health.

“What this data does show is that our staff feel confident enough to be honest about how they’re feeling and we’ll continue to work with them to ensure they have everything they need to be well at work.”

The Sheffield Health and Social Care trust manages mental health services in the city as well as care services and has an annual budget of £125m.

Across the NHS, mental health problems are the most common reason for staff absences, accounting for nearly a quarter of the overall number.

17.7 million days of sick leave were recorded across NHS England between December 2017 and November 2018, with 4.2 million of those attributed to stress, anxiety, depression or other psychiatric illnesses.