Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (678, 738)

Michael Creed

Question:

678. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health the progress he is making in respect of absenteeism in the public health service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9840/13]

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Andrew Doyle

Question:

738. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Health his views on the reports that more than ten percent of employees in the health service are calling in sick, particularly in some areas (details supplied); the measures he has brought forward to tackle this problem to date; the success of his measures so far; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10312/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 678 and 738 together.

The absenteeism rate in the HSE in 2012 was 4.79%. This is a reduction from the 2011 rate of 4.9%. Rates remain well below absenteeism levels of 5.76% in 2008 and 5.05% in 2009.

Absenteeism is still unacceptably high and additional measures have been put in place to ensure tighter control and more robust performance management in this area. The HSE has strengthened its policies and procedures on absence management including putting in place the following measures:

- Action plans for all sites for the management of absence over 3.5%

- Analysis and reporting of certified and uncertified absence on each hospital site and community care area- Monitoring adherence to Attendance Management Policies such as return to work interviews, counselling and referral to Occupational Health

- Disciplinary process for a number of staff.

New arrangements for access to paid self-certified sick leave have been agreed for all employees in the public and civil service arising from a 2012 Labour Court Recommendation. This provides that employees may only be granted up to a maximum of 7 days’ self-certified sick leave in a rolling 24-month period, with effect from 1s November 2012. This represents a halving of the previous entitlement.

Question No. 679 answered with Question No. 676.