Anger over hospital staff sickness note at Christmas

Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital . January 3rd 2013 E01012Q
Eastbourne DGH District General Hospital . January 3rd 2013 E01012Q

An email sent to staff at the DGH informing them they would not get sick pay if they did not provide a GP certificate over the Christmas period has been branded ‘appalling’.

Gary Palmer, GMB organiser, said the message – which was sent to all East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust staff – showed a ‘basic lack of trust’ but in response Monica Green, director of human resources, said early indications showed a reduced level in staff sickness compared to the previous year.

Staff were told if they began a new period of sickness during December 24 - January 5 inclusive they then would be required to provide the certificate.

Mr Palmer said, “Using the very harsh rationale of that in times of potential high patients volumes on a already under resourced NHS during holiday periods such as Christmas in making staff gain a doctor’s medical certificate from day 1 is also the best use of a busy doctors time is unbelievable, and that additionally as the trust would be expected to cover any costs involved in doing so it of course makes poor business sense for a trust in much financial difficulty as EDGH are.”

A spokesperson for the trust said staff were able to claim back the cost of the certificate.

Monica Green, director of human resources, said, “This measure was agreed by the Joint Staff Committee of which the GMB are members.

“In the past, staff sickness has been an issue over the holiday periods when there is a great demand for our services and temporary staff are difficult to recruit.

“This puts a tremendous strain and pressure on those staff working to ensure we continue to deliver safe services.”

“Early indications show there was a reduction in staff sickness over the two week festive period compared with the previous year.”