Concerns as mental health absences among North East paramedics spiral by almost 420% in five years

North East MSP Tess White

MENTAL health absences among North East paramedics have spiralled by almost 420% to a five-year high, new figures reveal.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives show almost 10,000 hours were lost among paramedics working in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Inverness and Dundee due to anxiety, stress or depression last year.

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The number has risen from 1,914 in 2019 while overall absence rates have surged from 16,951 (5.9%) to 34,271 (9.1%).

In 2023, paramedics also took 9,409 hours off due to musculoskeletal/fractures, a rise of 80% compared to 2019, while absences due to operations, gastro problems and colds/influenza also surged.

The rise comes just over a week after Tess White MSP called for urgent action from the SNP Government at FMQs as 18 ambulances were stuck outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, forcing exhausted crews to wait for hours to hand over patients.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP and deputy health spokesperson Tess White said: “Our hardworking paramedics are at breaking point due to the crippling and intense pressure they are being put under.

“Their workload is spiralling out of control and this SNP Government is risking the health of both our fantastic ambulance crews and patients by not offering enough support.

“It’s totally unacceptable to have so many ambulances stationed outside hospitals at one time and it’s no wonder this is taking a toll on their mental health.

“Paramedics are having to work long hours without breaks and in worsening conditions due to these slow ambulance turnaround times.

“We cannot allow this mental health crisis to continue which is why Humza Yousaf and his failing SNP Government must take urgent action to address this alarming trend.”

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