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Report calls for NHS counselling

High rates of absence due to sickness and stress among 1.4 million NHS staff are impacting on patient care, according to an independent report from Dr Steve Boorman.

Commissioned by the Department of Health, the report calls for counselling for staff with mental health problems, health checks, and dietary advice for the overweight.

Average NHS sickness levels are 10.7 days a year per employee - higher than the 9.7 public-sector average and 50% higher than the private sector's 6.4.

Musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain account for half the NHS absences, while stress, depression and anxiety add up to a quarter.

More than 80% of the 11,337 NHS staff who took part in a survey said their state of health affects the quality of the patient care they gave.

Dr Boorman is an occupational health expert, and published an interim report in August as part of his NHS Health and Wellbeing Review for England.

The report also calls on NHS organisations to lead the way in promoting healthy lives to members of the public.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Health and Wellbeing Review

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Being able to talk and release inner thoughts and emotions would support those individuals working in both mentally and physically demanding positions in finding a perspective. Perceived management focus on performance and targets conflicts with workers whose sole intention is to do a job to the best of their ability. Neither are wrong but rarely do they get together to discuss concerns leading to workers feeling insignificant and lacking in worth which leads to stress, various
illnesses and absence. Counselling can help in getting to the point where this inner conflict can be talked about and resolved" - Tracey Sherwood, Worcestershire

"To speak to someone outside the organisation in which you work who can offer CBT approach to your problems will certainly help" - Olivia Neely, Coventry