Mental health biggest reason Blackpool staff are signed off

Mental health problems are the single biggest reason for people being signed off from work in Blackpool.

Friday, 8th February 2019, 10:56 am
Updated Friday, 8th February 2019, 12:02 pm
Almost one in five people signed off from work are suffering with mental health problems

Doctors in the resort sign an average of 96 fit notes a day, according to the latest NHS figures.

The documents –previously called sick notes –are needed for workers who are off for more than seven days.

GPs working in the Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group area issued a total of 34,870 notes between October 2017 and September 2018.

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Almost one in five people signed off from work are suffering with mental health problems

Mental health problems accounted for almost one in five fit notes –5,859 – signed in that time.

A further 2,494 were the result of musculoskeletal conditions such as back problems.

Research by mental health charity Mind found nearly half of workers said they had suffered from mental health issues during their current employment.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at the charity, said: “Mental health problems can be debilitating and should be seen as a valid reason for needing time off.

“However, if staff are well supported they can and do make a valuable contribution to the workplace, whether they have a mental health problem or not.

“Thankfully, many employers are making strides when it comes to prioritising workplace wellbeing, recognising well-supported workers are happier, more productive and loyal.”

Across England, 5.6m fit notes were handed out over the 12 months to the end of September last year.

Nationally, women were signed off sick slightly more often than men.

Of all the fit notes signed across England during the 12 months, 57 per cent were for women.

How does resort compare?

Doctors in Blackpool issued 2,876 fit notes for every 100,000 patients on their registers, on average, each month, according to the latest figures.

They show the highest rate in the country was 3,641 per 100,000 in Halton.

The lowest recorded rate was 867 in Richmond.

Despite being called fit notes, almost all of those issued were used to classify people as unfit for work.

This was the case for 94 per cent of the notes handed out across the country.

However, fit notes are also used to advise patients and their employers on getting back to work with reduced hours or limited duties.