27 Dec 2012
This summer’s Olympic Games boosted the health of people in Scotland, after it emerged public sector workers took 5,000 fewer sick days than the same time last year.
Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed that in the two-week period between July 27 and August 12, 2012, there were 58,000 sick days taken by local authority staff.
However, this compares to more than 63,000 between the identical dates in 2011, despite the temptation to watch the gripping sporting action on television at home.
The reduction in sick days suggests workers were boosted by Team GB’s success at the London Games, resulting in an improvement in their own health and wellbeing, possibly through increased exercise levels and improved diet.
The data, released through Freedom of Information, shows the difference between sick days in 2011 and 2012 was 5,143.
As well as indicating the Olympics – in which Team GB won 65 medals – had a positive health impact, it will also have improved productivity in local authority buildings across the country, and saved councils thousands of pounds on sickness absence costs.
Scottish Conservative deputy leader and health spokesman Jackson Carlaw MSP said:
“This is firm evidence that the UK team’s success in London had a real impact on people in Scotland.
“Perhaps when they were feeling unwell last year they may have stayed under the covers, but in 2012 thousands were buoyed by the Olympics to the point they were determined to get into work.
“Scotland was completely enchanted by the performance of UK athletes, which yet again shows it is perfectly possible to feel both Scottish and British.
“The SNP wants to bring an end to this in 2014, but the signs from these figures are people enjoy being part of a successful, productive United Kingdom.
“Team GB’s achievements in the summer were a great example of what can be done if we pull together, particularly with such a massive contribution made by Scottish athletes.
“This togetherness can be applied across the board, which is why we are the most successful social and economic union in the world.”