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

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you 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

WholetimeRetainedFire Control
1.4.111782068
1.4.121703061
1.4.131612069
1.4.141593069
1.4.151574061

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
WholetimeRetainedFire Control
2011/1289780752
2012/1376020665
2013/1482500541
2014/1596340632

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

2011/12Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental HealthWholetimeFire Control
Anxiety161120
Bereavement873
Debility300
Depression3160
ME Post Viral Fatigue310
Stress453150
Work Related Stress2300
Total1229343
2012/13Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental HealthWholetimeFire Control
Anxiety2189
Bereavement6345
Debility1338
Depression44016
Fatigue41
Nervous Debility80
Stress37889
Work Related Stress250
Total1149198
2013/14Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental HealthWholetimeFire Control
Anxiety7251
Bereavement4632
Debility50
Depression130127
Fatigue80
Stress92622
Work Related Stress2050
Total1392232
2014/15Duty days lost to sickness
Absence Reason for the Category Mental HealthWholetimeFire Control
Anxiety34835
Bereavement2617
Debility362
Depression1240
Fatigue71
ME Post Viral Fatigue1140
Stress79184
Total1446139

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 letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

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