Health and social care stress-related claims are on the rise in Britain. This industry has the highest number of lost workdays out of all of the work sectors in the UK. Over the past year, the health and social care industry lost about five million working days due to self-reported work-related injuries and illnesses. The most notable statistic is that around 90% of the lost working days were due to work-related illness rather than injury, and the greatest cause of work-related illness in the health and social care sector is stress.
Stress in health and social care
The Health and Safety Executive define stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work.” Stress is generally a temporary condition, rather than an illness. However, if this condition becomes prolonged and excessive, it may develop into mental and physical illness.
The Impact of Event Scale (IES) is an internationally recognised measure that gauges personal distress caused by traumatic experiences. On this scale, a score above 44 is categorised as severe and has the potential to alter a person’s ability to function normally. A recent study amongst health workers in the United Kingdom revealed that nursing staff have an average stress score of 43.35.
Job design, management practices, work organisation and support structures are all important factors in ensuring that employees do not suffer excessive work-related stress. The nature of work in any of the health and social care services requires a high degree of competency and also a great measure of empathy. This makes working in this industry emotionally draining and leaves many workers stressed.
Budget constraints have also prevented the creation of more jobs in the health and social care field. Once again, this places an additional strain on professionals already actively working in this industry.
Combating stress in health and social care
The Health and Safety Executive suggest six areas of work design that can help you to combat work-related stress when well implemented. These are as follows:
- Demands – work patterns, work environment and workload.
- Support – the encouragement and resources provided by the employer, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships – conflict management and promotion of positive working environments.
- Control – does the employee have any control over the way they do their work?
- Role – does the employee understand their role within the company and do they have any conflicting roles?
- Change – the management of communicating organisational change.
Can I make a stress-related health and social care compensation claim?
If your employer has failed to meet the standards set out to prevent work-related stress and if stress is becoming a chronic condition relating to your occupation, give our team here at Accident Advice Helpline a call. Our 24-hour free legal helpline provides you with knowledgeable staff to help you to find out if you are entitled to make a work-related stress compensation claim. Call us on 0800 689 0500, or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile, or try our 30-second test at the top of the page to see how much your claim could be worth.