ANXIETY and depression remain the highest reason for staff sickness at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

Despite work by the trust to reduce the amount of staff sickness, the figure still remains above target, at 4.97 per cent.

The target for the trust is 3.5 per cent.

Of those off sick, almost a third said it was due to anxiety and depression.

The second highest reason for staff sickness was coughs, cold and flu, at 13.9 per cent.

A report, due to be seen by the board today (Thursday), said part of the reason for the increase was seasonal illnesses.

The number of agency and bank staff used to cover shifts has also seen an increase.

Out of 3,197 full time staff, 141 were bank staff and 107 agency.

In June, the trust said it was looking at putting in a referral system for staff with mental health concerns, following the success of the physiotherapy referral service.

The mental health practitioner, appointed by the trust, received 19 new referrals in December.

Managers have also been issued with a toolkit on 'how to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem'.

The trust has also worked to recruit internationally, and made 46 job offers to nurses in January.