The county’s ambulance service has claimed its station closures plan will help sickness rates after it emerged it has the highest proportion of staff off ill in the entire NHS.
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) had an absence rate of 6.73 per cent in 2011-12 with the majority of days off down to musculoskeletal injuries and stress.
In response to its rates, the service now offers its staff a counselling service as well as physiotheraphy, and sickness rates have now fallen to 5.94 per cent, still some way off EMAS’s five per cent target.
EMAS chief executive Phil Milligan said: “If sickness rates go up then response rates go down, so it’s crucial to have as much staff in as possible.”
The service plans to close the majority of its ambulance stations in the region – including all bar two in Northamptonshire – and EMAS claims a major reason for this proposal is to improve working conditions.
The service claims staff will be much better looked after working from hubs as opposed to the stations themselves, which spend most of the day empty. Mr Milligan added: “Our staff deal with some of the worst experiences that anybody could have, so it’s important we have the right support for them. We know our staff want a better service and better support and I think our estates plan will help them with that.”
Kettering Hospital’s sickness rate was 4.29 per cent.