DAYS lost to illness among NHS staff across Greater Glasgow and Clyde has increased over three years, official figures show.

Mental health and stress have been citied as the most common reasons for time off sick.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats show that there has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of hours lost due to staff illness.

The health board said that measures are in place to support staff and ensure staffing levels are maintained.

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde there was 4,135,288 hours lost in 2018 compared to 2,409,766 in 2016.

The Glasgow figure equates to 173,000 cumulative staff days off sick.

There was also a rise across Scotland which has 15 health boards.

The LibDems said the number one reason for absences was listed as “anxiety, stress, depression and other psychiatric illnesses.”

The party said that NHS staff are working under extremely pressurised conditions and it is having an impact on the health of those who are trained and paid to help care for others.

Alex Cole Hamilton, health spokesman, said: “Being on the front line of our NHS is a rewarding but at times harrowing job.

“These figures reveal the toll that mental ill health is having on the very staff who have dedicated their careers to looking after others.”

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All Scotland’s health boards areas except Orkney, Shetland and the Golden Jubilee health board, which is a single site board for the hospital at Clydebank, reported an increase in hours lost due to staff illness over the period.

A spokeswoman for the health board said staff, managers and unions and other staff organisations all work together to implement policies.

She said: “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde offers staff a range of support to allow them to address health issues and to return to work if they have been unwell.

“We have a very pro-active approach to identifying where staff might be experiencing health issues and staff can access Occupational Health and physiotherapy services directly.”

External issues that could lead to absence from work are also a factor in sick time and the board said that is also included in services offered to staff to minimise absence.

The spokeswoman added: “We also provide welfare advice and support in dealing with issues outwith the workplace that might be causing stress or anxiety.

“It is important to note that we ensure we have the appropriate levels of nursing staff in our wards and departments at all times and use nationally validated workforce planning tools to ensure the correct staffing is in place.

“In NHSGGC we are working with our staff to create the right conditions to make the work environment as positive as possible and ensure that they feel valued.”