Absenteeism up in the HSE

Level of dental and medical staff failing to show for work rises by nearly five per cent

New figures released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) have revealed an alarming increase in the level of absenteeism among dentists and doctors.

In April, the level of absenteeism recorded among dental and medical staff stood at 1.76 per cent. However, in May the level jumped up to 6.45 per cent, according to the figures released by the HSE to Fine Gael health spokesman James Reilly in response to a parliamentary question.

However, the HSE have insisted that the statistical data for absenteeism levels set out in the report given to Dr Reilly could be “unreliable” as a result of the effects of industrial action carried out by the Impact trade union earlier this year. Members of the union had refused to compile statistical reports for corporate management in protest at Government pay cuts.

The HSE’s executive director of human resources Sean McGrath said that the executive had measured and monitored absenteeism nationwide since 2008. Using the ‘lost time rate’, the HSE measures lost time against available time, which is then expressed as a percentage.

Lost time is defined as time lost through absences due to certified and uncertified sick leave and unexplained absences. It doesn’t include absences due to maternity leave, carers leave or other statutory approved leave.

The level of absenteeism across the whole of the HSE in May stood at 4.62 per cent, slightly above the 2009 level of 4.54, but below the 2008 figure of 5.85.