20% of staff at hospital out sick

A HSE survey has found 20% absenteeism rates among general support staff at one acute hospital.

According to the Healthstat report, one in five general support staff at Louth County Hospital called in sick on any given day in February.

The survey found that 10% of the hospital’s 70 nurses were off sick on any day in the same month, with the overall absenteeism rates running at just under 8%.

Under Healthstat’s red, amber, and green marking system, the hospital scored a red under absenteeism.

The survey found Louth County Hospital had the worst absenteeism rate among 32 hospitals evaluated, with rates at Cavan General Hospital and the Midland Regional Hospital at Portlaoise also in the bottom three.

Figures for the Midland Hospital show that the absenteeism rates among “other patient and client care” were 14%, with absenteeism rates among 258 nurses running at 8%.

The overall absenteeism rate at Portlaoise was just under 8% with less than 2% of that long-term and a small portion out on uncertified leave.

Figures for Cavan General Hospital show that absenteeism rates among its 316 nurses was running at 10%, with 13% of patient and client care staff off sick on any day.

Public service trade unions recently rejected proposals by the Government to effectively reduce by half existing sick leave arrangements for staff.

Brendan Howlin, the public expenditure minister, recently described the €500m annual bill for sick leave as “unsustainable”.

Asked about the rates at the Midland Hospital, a spokeswoman for the HSE Midlands said a number of measures were in place to address absenteeism.


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