Hospital prepares to battle sickness

IPSWICH Hospital has pledged to tackle above-expected rates of staff sickness today.

IPSWICH Hospital has pledged to tackle above-expected rates of staff sickness today.

The hospital has failed to meet targets for the number of employees off last year, and was particularly badly hit during the winter months when a large number of staff contracted colds and the flu.

During 2008 the hospital only achieved its target of 3.5 per cent or fewer staff off during February. Every other month the figure was higher, reaching 5.81pc in October and 5.14pc in December, with an average of 4.11pc.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said the rates were relatively low in comparison with other hospitals, but the hospital was keen to bring them down even further.

She added: “If we're compared nationally we have got a very very good track record in having a below average staff sickness rate.

“We had a high rate in December and January but that is explained by the fact there were an awful lot of colds and flu about and our staff work are not immune to these illnesses.

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“We have also made sure that staff who are ill do not come in because it is important for infection control.

“We monitor and look very closely at it and actively manage sickness absence. We want to be supportive but be rigorous in making sure we keep sickness to a minimum.

“With more than 3,200 staff there will obviously be a certain level of sickness.”

What can be done to tackle staff sickness at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.