Sickness levels hit ambulance service

The Emergency Operations Centre inside East Midlands Ambulance Service's Nottingham headquarters
The Emergency Operations Centre inside East Midlands Ambulance Service's Nottingham headquarters

More than one in five staff at the region’s ambulance service took a week off sick last year, new figures have revealed.

Over the year 759 employees of East Midland Ambulance Service took at least five days off, 86 of them because of stress.

This compares to five years ago when 164 less took a week off sick.

The service has more than 3,500 staff based at 70 locations in the region.

The latest statistics obtained by the Evening Telegraph show the extent of the problems faced by bosses of the service.

In January, it was revealed the NHS service was the worst in the country for staff absence rates.

The issue was branded so serious that it was raised in Parliament by Kettering MP Philip Hollobone.

Yesterday, assistant director of operations for Northamptonshire Richard Clayton admitted he was concerned about the figures.

But he said he was confident the service was taking the right measures to reduce the sick time taken by staff.

He said: “We are actively looking to reduce sickness rates, but at the same time supporting staff.

“It is about closer management and support for staff during their sickenss and keeping an eye on any trends.

“We are concerned but also confident that we are making the improvement necessary.”

The ambulance service is currently looking for a new provider for its occupation health service.

The independent provider will aim to protect health at work, assess and advise on fitness for work.