Murdo has described an increasing number of hours lost by NHS Tayside staff due to mental health issues as “very concerning,” with the latest data at an all-time high for five years.
Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information reveals that the last financial year of 2021/22 saw a total of 336,404 hours lost due to anxiety/stress/depression or other psychiatric illness – up from 320,061 lost hours in 2020/21, and also a substantial increase from 303,217 in 2019/2020.
Data previously released showed that there has been a notable increase in lost hours going back to 2017/18, when it totalled 266,706 for NHS Tayside staff.
In their response to the FoI details, NHS Tayside said the health body is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of everyone who works for them and confirmed that they have set out various measures to try and help staff.
Commenting, Murdo Fraser MSP said: “To have the total lost hours of NHS Tayside staff now reach a five-year high is very concerning, and utterly shocking. Obviously, part of this period included the pandemic so it is not surprising to find out some staff had to take time off due to mental health issues like stress.
“However, the figures here are also pre-Covid and post-Covid and they clearly show what many of us have been saying for a long time – that the NHS in Scotland is under severe pressure and the SNP Government badly need to invest in it – not blow around £20 million for another needless independence referendum.
“The Scottish Conservatives have been calling on the SNP to take heed of all the warnings about our NHS but they refuse to listen, resulting in these awful figures.”
Murdo continued: “It is good to hear that NHS Tayside treat these lost days seriously and have provided various measures of support, but the buck stops with the SNP Government who need to invest in our health service – something they have neglected to do for many years. We now have the worst A & E waiting times on record, vital operations have been cancelled and the numbers of bed-blocking are up across Scotland.
“It is time the SNP concentrated on things that matter like addressing all these issues, including the intolerable pressure their staff is under.”