There is a significant rise in the number of NHS staff away from work with mental health issues.

The number of NHS workers away from work has skyrocketed to record-breaking levels, with 6% of all staff absent.

Data released by NHS England today reveals that a massive 681,455 nursing days were lost due to sickness in March 2022.

The figures show that nurses took a staggering 192,122 sick days due to Covid – an increase of 42.6% in just a month.

Coughs, colds, chest, and respiratory problems accounted for another 153,170 sick days.

Unsurprisingly, the data also reveals a 17% increase in sick days due to anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues than at the start of the pandemic.

The news comes only days after MPs warned of a looming NHS staffing workforce crisis. 

The nursing workforce crisis.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Director for England, Patricia Marquis, responded to the figures, “The pandemic continues to take its toll on nursing, with a 17% increase in staff absence due to anxiety, stress and depression since March 2020.

“The recent report from the Health and Social Care Committee laid bare the nursing workforce crisis. Millions of patients are facing lengthy waits for care, piling pressure on a profession already on its knees.

“Yet another real-terms pay cut has added insult to injury, leaving nursing with no choice but to consider industrial action.

Ms Marquis added, “Nursing and patient care must be the priority for investment, not the target for cuts. Otherwise, absences will remain dangerously high, and tens of thousands of nursing vacancies unfilled.

“Free testing and high-quality PPE are essential for all nursing staff to protect themselves and clinically vulnerable people they care for.”