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One in three work absences due to anxiety or stress, CQC still does not know its inspectors’ qualifications and chaplaincy services in hospitals cut

One in three absences from work are due to anxiety or stress, a Government survey has found.

A study of 58,700 GP fit notes issued to 25,000 patients notes found that 35% of those surveyed were given for mild to moderate mental health disorders like anxiety or stress.

It found that there is ‘some evidence that mild-to-moderate mental health disorders are a growing cause of sickness absence and added more sick notes were issued by doctors in deprived areas’.

Half of the notes allowed patients to take up to a month off work, while a quarter were for between one and three months.

The paper also reported that the CQC still does not know how many of its inspectors have basic healthcare experience.

Stephen Barclay, a Conservative MP, asked in January 2012 for a breakdown of the CQC inspectors’ qualifications.

Today the regulator responded and said that an ‘audit of professional qualifications’ is still being carried out.

Mr Barclay said: ‘This is completely unacceptable. The CQC inspection regime is not fit for purpose and it is still sending fireman and dentists into wards to carry out clinical inspections. The consequences for patients could be catastrophic.’

Over at the BBC, we find the news that hospital trusts in England have significantly reduced their number of chaplains in the last five years against a backdrop of NHS cuts.

A Freedom of Information Requests revealed 40% of the 163 trusts contacted said they have fewer chaplains than they did in 2009. Nearly half have reduced the number of hours chaplains are on duty.

Advocates say chaplaincy services form a vital part of clinical care. Others describe them as a waste of money.

Skipping lunch could make you a liability, said the Daily Mail this morning, as hunger alters the ‘fight or flight reflex’ and means people are more likely to take financial risks.

People who make decisions on an empty stomach are more likely to take risks, the paper warns.