Those working in the public sector, including those working in the NHS, are more likely to take time off work because of mental health problems, according to new findings by consultancy firm, Deloitte. 

A total of 81% of people working in the NHS, as well as those working in the police force and public education sector, said they always or usually go into work when they should be taking time off work for their mental health. 

The findings have been published after a separate BBC report found that the number of NHS mental health staff who had to take sick leave because of their own mental health issues had increased by 22% between 2012-13 and 2016-17.

At the time, the Unite union said that cuts to staff and services were putting extra pressure on NHS workers.

Commenting on Deloitte’s report, Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “Smart, forward-thinking employers are investing in staff wellbeing, and those who do tend to save money in the long run. This report shows the link between prioritising staff wellbeing and improved loyalty and productivity, and decreased sickness absence and resignations. However, it also shows a rise in ‘presenteeism’ – unwell staff spending unproductive hours at work rather than taking time off.”

He added: “As presenteeism costs three times more than sick leave, we need to look at supporting employers to change the culture so their staff feel able to take time off when they are unwell.”

“The government must also play their part by improving the definition of disability under the Equality Act, so more people with mental health problems can benefit from its rights and protections, as well as increasing the amount of statutory sick pay staff receive when they’re off sick.”