Stress led to more NHS staff absences than Covid, new figures show

An analysis by the Observer shows that “burnout” and stress among doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health staff has cost the NHS in England more than 15m lost working days since March 2020, about 50% more than the days lost to Covid infections and self-isolation.

NHS sickness figures show that between March 2020, the month of the first Covid lockdown, and last September, 15.4m working days have been lost in the NHS because of stress-related absences, compared with 9.8m days lost from staff who were required to self-isolate or were ill with Covid.

Staff who have spoken to the Observer warn an exhausted and demoralised workforce is increasing the risk of errors in patient care. Some of the workers with the highest rates of sickness from stress are ambulance staff who are routinely delayed getting to urgent calls because of long waits to hand over patients at hospitals.

Full story in The Observer, 5 February 2023