Absenteeism down but GUH still missing 130 staff a day

by Bernie Ní Fhlatharta

On average there are 130 staff at the Galway University Hospitals absent from work every day – though this week that was described as an improvement on the previous year.

Absenteeism at the two public Galway hospitals, UHG and Merlin Park has been flagged as a problem in recent years – and in the past twelve months four staff members have been sacked due to bad attendance levels. Two years ago a figure of 1,000 staff a day for the whole HSE West region (which extends from Donegal to Tipperary) but management now claim they have reduced those figures.

Tony Canavan, Chief Operating Officer with HSE West, told the Regional Forum this week that steps had been taken to bring the level of absenteeism in Galway down below the national average of 3.5%. The average rate of absenteeism in Galway hospitals last year was 4.42%, and since the end of December, a 10% reduction was reported.

There are currently 3,479 people working in GUH and absenteeism has been addressed very closely, he said. Anyone showing a trend of being absent regularly and on Fridays and Mondays now have to have doctor’s cert, even if they are out for just one day.

Chairman of HSE West Regional Forum, Cllr Pádraig Conneely said he welcomed news that the practice of ringing in sick was being curtailed.

“I don’t like to hear of anyone losing their job but the level of absenteeism at GUH was so high, that something had to be done about it and I am glad to see that this is the case,” he said.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.