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6,700 HSE staff on Covid-related absence during one week in Jan

By David Lynch - 25th May 2021

Woman opens mouth for cheek and throat swab while being tested for Covid-19 coronavirus

The level of HSE staff absence due to Covid-19 reached 6,700 in a single week in January, the Medical Independent (MI) can report. The median time of these Covid-related absences ranged from 12 to 14 days. The issue of staff absence during the height of the pandemic was discussed at the February meeting of the HSE people and culture committee. According to minutes of the February meeting, the committee was briefed on the “high levels” of staff absences due to Covid-19. The committee was told that human resources leadership “locally and nationally have been challenged with providing services”, whilst managing the available staff resources.

“During one week in January, 6,700 staff were on Covid-related absences. It was noted that with a median time of these Covid-related absences range from 12-to-14 days,” stated the minutes.

According to the HSE, it was the largest employer in the State with more than 67,000 direct employees.

“The committee queried the effect of increased numbers of vaccinated staff on the rates of absences within the organisation and were informed that the biggest effect is to be expected when staff members begin to receive their second dose of the vaccine.”

In March, MI reported that the meeting of the HSE people and culture committee in January noted the “high rate of absences” among employees due to having Covid-19 or being a close contact. The committee had discussed what the HSE could do to “support staff more adequately” and “advocate” on their behalf.

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