Stress related absences are on the rise for many people across the UK, particularly in the public sector as government pressure is put on to perform well and hit targets.
The BBC, through a Freedom of Information request, received and reported figures showing the rising absence rate due to stress related illness of paramedics throughout Wales.
These figures show a rise of 9,667 total hours from 2011-12 to 11,255 hours in the 2012-13 year, a 16 per cent increase.
The current stress sick time is apparently almost three times as much as sick leave for colds and flu amongst paramedics.
They have a highly stressful job with peoples’ lives depending on them on a daily basis. Not only this, but targets have been implemented so that paramedics should be on the scene within 8 minutes of receiving the call. This sounds great, but the knock-on effects for the paramedics can be damaging to their mental health.
One paramedic told the BBC “You’re not getting time to clear your head between one patient and another… I could not function as a human being, I was just a shell.”
She added that one of the main problems was that Accident and Emergency could not let patients in fast enough so frustrated paramedics are stuck in a queue with patients deteriorating in their care.
Changes are supposedly being planned to centralise a lot of the health care throughout Wales and hopefully this will change things for the better. It is accepted, however, that there is currently insufficient manpower and skill sets to support an improved service.