Stress-related Sickness – 15118

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A request for information around our handling of traumatic stress and occupational health services.

Ref: FOI/15118

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 7th September 2015

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

Please could you outline the current methods used to manage traumatic stress such as critical incident stress debriefing, post-incident questionnaires and occupational health services and when they were first introduced by your service.  Please provide a copy of any policies and procedures detailing your support mechanisms if they give a more comprehensive overview.

Reply

Please see Critical Incident Debrief. West Midlands Fire service does not do any post incident questionnaires anyone that receives post incident defusing or a critical incident debrief is signposted to Occupational Health if they feel they need more assistance. There they will speak with an Occupational Health Advisor and assessed to see if they would benefit from counselling if they would then this offered.

Critical incident debriefing was introduced around 1995.  Post incident defusing we have been doing properly for around 12 months

Request

The headcount of your whole time, retained and control staff as separate groups on 1st April, 2011, 1st April 2012, 1st April 2013, 1st April 2014, and 1st April 2015.

Reply

Wholetime Retained Fire Control
1.4.11 1782 0 68
1.4.12 1703 0 61
1.4.13 1612 0 69
1.4.14 1593 0 69
1.4.15 1574 0 61

Request

The total number of calendar days absence broken down by wholetime, retained and control staff as separate groups in the financial years 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15.

Reply

We don’t report calendar days sickness absence, we use duty days:
  Duty days lost to sickness
Wholetime Retained Fire Control
2011/12 8978 0 752
2012/13 7602 0 665
2013/14 8250 0 541
2014/15 9634 0 632

Request

The number of calendar days absence caused by all types of stress broken down by wholetime, retained and control staff as separate groups in the financial years 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15.

Reply

2011/12 Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental Health Wholetime Fire Control
Anxiety 161 120
Bereavement 8 73
Debility 30 0
Depression 316 0
ME Post Viral Fatigue 31 0
Stress 453 150
Work Related Stress 230 0
Total 1229 343
2012/13 Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental Health Wholetime Fire Control
Anxiety 218 9
Bereavement 63 45
Debility 13 38
Depression 440 16
Fatigue 4 1
Nervous Debility 8 0
Stress 378 89
Work Related Stress 25 0
Total 1149 198
2013/14 Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental Health Wholetime Fire Control
Anxiety 72 51
Bereavement 46 32
Debility 5 0
Depression 130 127
Fatigue 8 0
Stress 926 22
Work Related Stress 205 0
Total 1392 232
2014/15 Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental Health Wholetime Fire Control
Anxiety 348 35
Bereavement 26 17
Debility 36 2
Depression 124 0
Fatigue 7 1
ME Post Viral Fatigue 114 0
Stress 791 84
Total 1446 139

Request

The number of episodes and calendar days of absence caused by post traumatic stress disorder broken down by wholetime, retained and control staff as separate groups in the financial years 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15.

Reply

This information is exempt under section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as we do not hold this information. We do not record incidents of post traumatic stress disorder the categories for recording of stress related illness are as above.

Request

The number of employees who have completed phased returns and returned to their normal duties following post traumatic stress disorder broken down by wholetime, retained and control staff as separate groups in the financial years 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15.

Reply

Not applicable.

Request

Please could you confirm the work patterns of your wholetime and fire control staff, so that I can put the sickness figures you have provided into context..

Reply

Wholetime firefighters either 2 days, 2 nights, 4 days off ( days shifts are 8.00-18.00) or Lates which are 4 on 4 off (10.00-22.00)

Fire Control work – 2days, 2 nights 4 days off ( days shifts are 8.00-18.00)

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

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