Stressful working conditions linked to increased sick leave

Categories: Public Sector News

Recent figures showing public health workers are taking more sick leave than their colleagues demonstrate the impact of stress and difficult working conditions in South Australia’s hospitals.

Addressing media on a report that showed health workers take four days a year more than other public sector workers, ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM cited ramping and overcrowding as significant contributed factors.

“Ramping has a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of staff when they feel like they are not able to deliver on their commitment to their patients,” Ms Dabars told FiveAA’s Matthew Pantelis on 31 December.

She says the ANMF (SA Branch) been lobbying and advocating on this issue over the past few months and years with the previous and former government.

“We’d be very pleased if there were strategies implemented that would have a positive effect on sick leave use, such as addressing the core issues, which is the context that people are working in.”

“From our perspective, that would mean relieving stresses from bed-block and overcrowding.”

“Health care workers are operating in a system that is very stressful, deeply concerning and of course has that negative effect on their health and wellbeing.”

She says she was pleased to see KordaMentha’s plan reference the amount of sick leave being taken across the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

“There does need to be strategies to deal with the issue of patient flow and patient bed-block.”

“[These issues] are bad for patients and bad for health workers trying desperately to provide patient care.”

The ANMF (SA Branch) is continuing to work positively and productively with the Government and the department to push for measures to address these problems.

“Medium to longer-term strategies such as discharge planning, making sure that people have discharge planning from the outset, criteria-led discharge…these can be successful in making a difference.”

Ms Dabars says the ANMF (SA Branch)’s goal moving forward is to make sure that these plans are executive.

“Sadly, [similar plans in the past] often haven’t been implemented and that means we are in the situation we are in today.”

“We want to see a community with the ability to access to appropriate and professional care.”

Listen to full interview.

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