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Reduction in sick days show Olympics were good for our health

27 Dec 2012

Jackson Carlaw MSP

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.”

 

 

Below are the following sick days taken by council workers between July 27 and August 8 in both 2012 and 2011 periods:
 
Council                          Sick days 2012        Sick days 2011      Difference
 
Aberdeen                              2821                            2339                   +482
Aberdeenshire                     5691                            6280                    -589
Angus                                     1751                            1514                   +237
Argyll and Bute                      347                              315                     +32
Edinburgh                             4888                             5789                   -901
Clackmannanshire                597                               778                    -181
Dumfries and Galloway     1878                             1969                     -90
Dundee                                  1770                             2083                   -312
East Ayrshire                          n/a
East Dunbartonshire             402                              574                    -171
East Lothain                            n/a
East Renfrewshire                 n/a
Falkirk                                      332                               373                     -41
Fife                                          6040                             7162                 -1122
Glasgow                                 4261                             3818                  +443
Highland                                4939                             5234                   -295
Inverclyde                               759                              1199                  -440
Midlothian                              n/a
Moray                                     2177                             2340                  -163
North Ayrshire                      1875                             2485                  -610
North Lanarkshire                3956                             4550                  -594
Orkney                                     595                                530                     64
Perth and Kinross                 1305                             1709                  -404
Renfrewshire                          391                                209                  +182
Scottish Borders                   1638                              1828                 -190
Shetland                                 1147                             1684                  -537
South Ayrshire                      1567                             1780                  -213
South Lanarkshire                  681                               914                  -233
Stirling                                    1277                             1094                 +183
West Dunbartonshire          2700                            2818                  -118
West Lothian                         2224                             1784                +440
 
Total                                       58,009                        63,152               -5,143