Worrying stress levels for ambulance staff, Welsh Conservatives reveal
Stress-related illnesses are increasingly responsible for ambulance service staff being absent from work, prompting calls for the Welsh Government to take urgent action to address this issue.
New figures have been uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives, utilising the Freedom of Information Act.
In 2015/16, 17.4% of lost days in Wales were linked to an absence reason concerning anxiety, stress, depression or other psychiatric illnesses. This amounted to 13,409 absent days, according to figures provided by the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust.
In the previous year, 15.5% of days lost to illness were for the aforementioned reason, suggesting a need for urgent action from the Welsh Government.
Shadow Health Secretary Angela Burns AM said:
"These worrying figures, uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives, suggest the Welsh Government must take urgent action to improve working conditions for ambulance service staff.
"More than 53,000 days have been lost in the last four years linked to stress. Proportionally, stress-related illnesses are now responsible for a higher percentage of absences for ambulance service staff. Labour Ministers must explore why this is the case, and provide additional support to our NHS in improving challenging work conditions.
"Further to worrying reports about stress levels in Wales within the teaching profession, it is clear the Welsh Government needs to explore issues surrounding staff stress levels within the Welsh public sector.
"By ensuring adequate investment in the Welsh Ambulance Service, and supporting staff recruitment and retention, morale can be improved and hardworking ambulance service staff better supported."