CCG and NHS general shot (creative commons licence)

More than half of all sick days taken in February by staff at the Cheshire NHS body leading the Covid-19 vaccination programme were down to stress, anxiety, or depression, writes Ethan Davies.

That’s according to the latest workforce report from NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which leads the vaccine roll-out in the county.

The report found that 312 sick days were taken by staff in February of this year, with 56% of these days down to “stress, anxiety, or depression”.

“It goes without saying that the last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for everyone working in health and care,” a CCG spokesperson said.

“Staff have been working remotely and countless colleagues have gone the extra mile to help protect the people of Cheshire from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A wide range of wellbeing resources have been shared with staff throughout the last 12 months and we are committed to adopting the NHS People Plan, including ensuring every member of staff has regular wellbeing conversations with a line manager or trusted colleague.”

The review also found that no days were lost due to Covid-19 illness, but the total number of sick days rose from January, when the figure was 259.

The spokesperson added that management were looking to adapt to a new way of working in a post-pandemic UK.

They said: “We are also working with staff to ensure the support we are offering meets their needs and looking at how we adapt the resources while we work from home and, then, as we gradually return to our office bases.

“Our staff are our biggest asset.

“Our Governing Body member Christine Morris has been appointed as our Wellbeing Guardian to work with the Governing Body and wider organisation, and a wide-ranging wellbeing action plan is in place.”

Meanwhile, a Long Covid ‘pathway’, including an assessment hub in Liverpool, is being developed for Cheshire and Merseyside patients.

The development was revealed at Thursday’s (April 15) NHS Cheshire clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing body.

“This pathway is designed to support patients with symptoms of Covid-19 lasting more than 12 weeks and is based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance,” a pre-meeting report said.

It added that “one percent of patients with Covid-19 are estimated to have symptoms after 12 weeks of developing the illness”.

However, CCG board member and GP Lesley Appleton has criticised the location of the centre, claiming it is too far for eastern Cheshire residents to travel.

She also said that she believed that ‘one per cent’ figure in the report should be closer to ‘one in ten’.

In response, Tracey Cole, the CCG’s executive director of strategy and partnership, said: “There are options for our patients to have virtual access to clinics. We have got that commission in place.

“I think it is early days to evaluate that but the principles are key to make sure we know it will be successful.”

A more in-depth report will be presented to the CCG governing body at the next meeting in May 2021.

One Comment

  1. JMF says:

    I am very uneasy at anything being developed/run jointly with Merseyside (even the ambulances). Part of a slippery slope to joining up the commissioning groups and all other health things. It will ultimately be to the detriment of Cheshire residents – and mean more travelling as the above demonstrates.

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