MR ROBIN SWANN MLA, Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and Chairman of the Stormont Public Accounts Committee, has called on the Sinn Fein Health Minister to “give a cast iron guarantee that she will exercise her duty of care to health workers at the Antrim and Causeway hospitals who are on sick leave because of stress”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also Chairman of the Stormont All Party Committee on Congenital Heart Disease, threw down the gauntlet to the Sinn Fein Minister after the UUP received information from a written question.
The UUP had asked the Minister of Health how many staff are currently absent across each hospital due to stress related sickness; and how this compares to the same period in each of the last five years.
Mr Swann added: “When I examined the figures concerning the percentage of hours lost due to non-work related stress or work related stress from 2014/15 onwards, they showed that at the Antrim hospital, this level increased from 0.92% to 1.23%; at the Causeway, the level also increased from 1.24% to 1.50% These cannot be simply dismissed as minute statistics.
“The fact that the level is increasing means that the issue is not being effectively addressed at these hospitals. The Sinn Fein health minister needs to take urgent action to ensure this is reduced to zero.
“While the UUP adopts a policy of putting patients first, we are also concerned that the minister and her department must equally apply this ethos to hospital staff.
“Both the minister and her department have a moral obligation to demonstrate a genuine duty of care to combat stress-related illnesses among our much-needed hospital workers,” said Assemblyman Swann.