WORKFORCE: Anxiety, stress and depression levels are rising among staff at Univeristy Hospitals Bristol, contributing to a higher than planned level of sickness absence.

A report to be presented to the trust’s board next week said absence has reduced to 4 per cent in June compared with 4.2 per cent in May but remained over the June target of 3.3 per cent. The report said all divisions except diagnostic and therapies were above target.

Anxiety, stress, depression and other psyciatric ilnesses accounted for the most absences followed by musculoskeletal problems then gastrointestinal problems. Levels of sickness due to mental health problems almost doubled between August 2011 and May 2012 but saw a slight decrease in the month to June.

Occupational health have undertaken “stress audits” to determine the cause out in support where possible.