31 October 2019

The rate of NHS staff sickness absence due to stress or mental health causes has soared in recent years, Richard Leonard revealed today at FMQs.

A Freedom of Information investigation by Scottish Labour has revealed that in 2018/19, a total of 3.5 million working hours were lost across the NHS due to stress, anxiety and other mental health causes.

On the heels of the damning report by Audit Scotland into overall NHS performance, Scottish Labour has warned that the latest findings are yet further evidence of the NHS workers being pushed to the limit.

Mr Leonard said: "NHS workers are the heart of our health service, and they being badly let down. And in the end patients suffer too."

Overall, 24.7 per cent of NHS staff’s sickness absence hours were due to mental health reasons, up from 16.7 per cent in 2014/15.

The Scottish Labour leader challenged the First Minister over whether the 10 years of austerity which would result from the the SNP's Growth Commission would better serve Scotland's NHS than Labour's plans for £70 billion investment in Scotland.

Mr Leonard told the First Minister: "The SNP has been running Scotland’s Health Service for more than twelve years and today the human cost for patients and staff is plain to see.

"This health crisis has blown up under your watch. It is your responsibility. What does Scotland’s National Health Service need? Another decade of the cuts prescribed by your own blueprint for independence or the £70 billion of investment in our public services that would result from the election of a Labour Government?"
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