Rising cost of stress in the Service: one fire and rescue service reported that psychological illness, especially stress-related, cost them over 450,000 [pounds sterling] in 2005--four times what it was in 2002. If this figure is multiplied out nationally it will be enormous! What is it costing in your region? It is perhaps time to address this issue--or revisit it, if you have done something in the past.(Stress)

WHAT ARE THE consequences of this alarming trend? Apart from the "duty of care" aspect for senior officers and management, there are some serious commercial and operational realities to face! Several of these are likely to occur:

* Levels of commitment to work

* Performance and productivity diminish

* Absence levels increase

* "Presenteeism", ie, they are present but not able to do much

* Staff turnover increases

* Quality of work

* Problems attracting the right staff

* Reputation of the force suffers

* Risk of litigation.

Some of these carry considerable additional risks if they are occurring within the Fire Service!

Rising Cost

At a basic level, there is a significant increase in the cost of overtime to provide cover for colleagues who are off work--338 per cent in the last five years in one region! When you have relatively small numbers in some stations and watches, it only needs one or two to be suffering to have a major impact. In turn, those who have to cover are putting themselves under greater pressure. …

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