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Absenteeism still a major challenge for HSE

4th July 2013 - Colm Burke TD

Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Health Colm Burke today (Thursday) gave a cautious welcome to figures demonstrating a reduction in the levels of absenteeism within the health services.   The figures were published as part of the HSE Annual Report and Financial Statements 2012 and show a steady but slow decline in levels of absenteeism from 5.76% in 2008 to 4.79% in 2012.  

The figure for absenteeism in the HSE for 2010 was 4.7%, it increased to 4.9% in 2011 and the 2012 figure represents a marginal improvement.

  “While there has been a decline in absenteeism levels, the rates fall far short of the national target of 3.5% and highlight the need for the HSE to continue to review its sick leave policies and procedures while implementing the supports and work practices necessary to reach these targets.

  “Absenteeism figures are broken down by staff category basis and there are considerable variances in levels.   Those working in the provision of medical and dental services have had consistently low levels of absenteeism while categories such as management, administration and general support staff have remained consistently high.  

“The total cost of sick leave across the public service is €500millionper annum and in view of the fact that the absentee level in one HSE hospital in Jan 2012 was 19%.

“These discrepancies demonstrate the need for the HSE to maintain on-going analysis of levels and patterns of absenteeism in order to determine a system of addressing and managing the matter coupled with these systems, effective support mechanisms for staff must be a priority.”

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