Staff absences at the Royal Bolton Hospital have reached their highest level since the pandemic began as stress and anxiety take a harsh toll on frontline workers.

This comes with health workers of all kinds facing mounting pressure to help cope with the aftermath of the pandemic with Bolton one of the busiest trusts in Greater Manchester.

Workers’ representatives say that having faced the often horrifying conditions of wards at the peak of the crisis, staff need to have their concerns listened to and addressed if absenteeism is to be brough back down again.

Unison Bolton health branch secretary Linda Miller said: “If you’re seeing a lot more death than you would normally then it’s hard to comprehend.

“That’s why sickness is so bad here, a lot of it is workplace anxiety and the stress of dealing with so much death.”

The Bolton News:

Royal Bolton Hospital 

She added: “It’s not just here, its nationwide, its people who have been working hard and doing overtime.

“That’s especially the case on Covid wards where agency staff and bank staff don’t want to work so fulltime staff have to pick it up.

“People feel like they’re not appreciated and the pay issue we’ve had with health care assistants just adds to it.”

The most recent figures from NHS Digital show that 6.13 per cent of full-time equivalent working days were classed as absent at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust between October and December last year.

This shows 6.46 per cent of nurses and health visitors were absent with 1.36 per cent of doctors and 8.47 of midwives. 

This is the highest since the pandemic started in March 2020.

Deputy chief executive and director of people James Mawrey said: “Our staff are continuing to provide the highest levels of care for our patients, despite the pressures we are facing, and I am so proud of the work they do.

“We have a range of health and wellbeing support available for our staff to help them with issues they face, either at work or at home.

“This includes our occupational therapy team, Chaplaincy, Schwartz Rounds, TRiM, our Employee Assistance Programme and many other schemes to help and support our staff.”