NHS cuts have been blamed for a large increase in staff suffering from stress at a major health trust.

Figures obtained from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and district nursing services, showed there were 31,891 working days lost in 2013/14 due to anxiety, stress, depression or other psych- iatric illnesses.

The figure has increased from 21,408 in 2010/11, to 25,312 in 2011/12 and 26,386 in 2012/13.

Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health Lancashire County Council, said: “I’m not surprised these figures have increased. I believe it’s due to the increasing pressure being placed on NHS staff by central Government, due to cuts and the increasing demand for services from patients. This is having an impact on staff health and morale.”

The figures were obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph via the Freedom of Information Act. Craig Barratt, workforce director at Lancashire Care, said: “We are aware there has been a rise in stress-related sickness and we are working with managers to identify signs and promote early intervention.

“The trust has launched its well-being strategy, which specifically aims to reduce the instances of stress, anxiety, depression and other related illnesses.”

Although the figures could not be compared directly, due to a narrower definition, there appeared to be an improving picture at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, with 14,675 days lost to ‘stress’ in 2013, compared to 17,480 in 2012 and 15,280 in 201.

There were 887 days lost to ‘stress and anxiety’ among East Lancashire-based staff at North West Ambulance Service last year, compared to 673 the year before.

This was significantly down on the 1,711 days lost in 2011/12, however.