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Mental health is most common reason for sick day at Gwent council

Torfaen Civic Centre in Pontypool

MENTAL health was the single largest reason for sick days at a Gwent council in a single year.

Across Torfaen Borough Council’s six service areas mental health was the most common reason for sick days, accounting for 8,647.53 during the last financial year. In the same period an additional 1,767.58 sick days were recorded in relation to work related mental health. 

A total of 45,410.1 working days were lost to sickness at Torfaen Borough Council, which employs nearly 4,000 staff, during the 2022/23 financial year according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The highest number of sick days were recorded by schools staff with 17,809.7 – and of those 3,380.5 were marked as due to ‘mental health/psychiatric disorder’ which was the single largest reason given with a further 376.66 days lost to ‘work related mental health issues’.

Schools staff also recorded 3,134.15 days lost to ‘cold, flu virus, chest, ear, nose, throat infections’ and 2,815.43 days due to ‘Coronavirus’ and 1,350.33 to ‘digestion, stomach, vomiting’. 

There were also 1,331.07 days lost in schools due ‘accidents, injury, fractures’.  

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After schools the council’s economy and environment section – which includes staff who work in the waste and recycling service that was hit by delays and missed collections in 2022 – recorded the highest number of sick days at 10,125. 

The most common reason for a sick day in the service was also mental health at 1,648.67 while another 430.17 were lost due to mental health issues related to work. 

The council’s social care and housing service area, which includes staff working with the most vulnerable and some who provide care, recorded the third highest total number of sick days at 7,464.24. 

Mental health was again the most common reason for absence with 1,546.64 sick days, plus another 619.53 due to work related mental health issues. 

There were also 18.16 days in the social care and housing service lost to shielding, the only department to record that absence. 

The service lost more than 800 days to both ‘Coronavirus’ and cold and flu symptoms with 301.24 due to vomiting. 

Of the six service areas social care and housing also had recorded the highest number of ‘pregnancy related’ sick days at 216.51 with schools – at 154.1 – the only other service to top 100 days. 

The lowest number of ‘pregnancy related’ sick days was recorded by the economy and environment service at just 1.52. 

No service recorded any sick days for ‘substance dependency’.  

The council’s six service areas are Communities and Digital, Economy and Environment, Education, Schools, Resources, Shared Resources Services and Social Care and Housing. 

The Shared Resources Services that provides IT and support to public bodies across Gwent recorded the lowest number of total sick days at 1,849.1. 

The figures were released, under the Freedom of Information Act, at the end of November this year and the total sick full time equivalent days include bank holidays.

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