Mayo was worst-hit hospital by Covid-19 staff absences

Almost half of the health staff absences at Mayo University Hospital caused by Covid-19

The Irish hospital worst affected by Covid-19 in terms of staff absences was Mayo University Hospital (MUH), figures show.

Almost half of recorded sick leave at MUH during the summer was as a result of the virus, according to the latest Health Service Executive (HSE) Absenteeism Report.

Covering the month of June — the latest month for which HSE absentee rates were available — the report showed that 6 per cent of staff at MUH were off sick that month, with 2.9 per cent (48% of total absentees) citing Covid-19 as the reason why they did not attend work.

MUH is part of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Hospitals Group, which also includes Galway, Letterkenny, Portiuncula, Roscommon, and Sligo university hospitals.

Just above one-fifth (23.3%) of recorded staff sick leave at the RCSI Hospitals Group was as a result of Covid-19 – and this was the second highest figure for a hospital group in Ireland.

The group with the highest percentage of staff affected by Covid-19 was Dublin Midlands Hospital Group with just under a quarter (24.4%) of absences a result of the virus.

The absenteeism report also showed, however, that the overall percentage of HSE employees off sick with Covid-19 or related symptoms fell from more than a third to under 20 per cent of total absentees between May and June.

The total absence rate in the health service also dropped during that time, from 6.8 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

According to the report, 3.6 per cent of the health service’s workforce in June were on certified absence, 0.4 per cent were self-certified, and 0.9 per cent — or 17.7 per cent of the total number of absentees — were off work as a result of Covid-19.

Previously, in May, the HSE’s total absence rate was 6.8 per cent with more than a third of this number (35.9%) stating they were off sick as a result of Covid-19.

June’s report also revealed a sharp drop across HSE staff categories, with the Covid-19 absence rate among employees in the ‘Medical and Dental’ cohort falling from 55.4 per cent in May to 24.8 per cent; while the absentee rate as a result of the virus in the ‘Patient and Client Care’ section was 16.1 per cent, down from 35.1 per cent from the previous month.

Although Acute Hospital Services remained the HSE division worst affected by Covid-19, the absentee rate as a result of the virus fell to 19.9 per cent from was 37.9 per cent in May;  Community Services was still second worst-hit at 16.4 per cent, down from May’s total of 35.5 per cent.

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