Ambulance service sees highest level of sickness since pandemic's start

The East of England Ambulance Service spent almost £10m on private ambulances last year. Photo: EEAS

EEAST saw an absence rate of 9.44pc of staff off in July. - Credit: EEAST

The region's ambulance service is reporting a higher level of sickness than at the peak of the pandemic, as mental health and anxiety-related illness becomes the leading reason for absences. 

The East of England Ambulance Service's (EEAST) absence rate stood at 9.44pc in July, including staff off for Covid-related reasons. 

At the peak of the outbreak in April 2020, EEAST's sickness level rose to 8.95pc. 

Prior to July, musculoskeletal injuries had been the leading cause of absence. 

Papers produced ahead of Wednesday's board meeting said the impact of sickness absence is a "complicating factor" as the trust is at REAP 4 status - its highest level of alert. 

Bob Champion, director of workforce, said more wellbeing resources was being provided to support staff, including the training of more trauma risk management practitioners. 

In July, there were 155 Covid cases, which rose to 166 in August. 

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Juliet Beal, interim chief nurse, said the trust has now been able to bring people back to work if they have been in contact with Covid to ensure they did not have to isolate for long periods of time.

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