THE number of days taken off by Winchester City Council staff due to stress or depression has soared by more than 90 per cent over a 12-month period, a report has revealed.

A senior councillor said council sickness levels were "unacceptable in this day and age."

Cllr Linda Gemmell, the Conservative group manager, asked whether enough was being done to reduce the problem.

She told the overview and scrutiny committee that in earlier periods department managers had been called to the personnel committee to account for the figures.

The data, which was included in a report to the city council's personnel committee last week, reveals 1,280 days were taken off in the three months from June this year.

That compares to 671 during the same period last year, a rise of 90.8 per cent.

Stress or depression caused by personal issues was revealed as the most common reason for taking days off work (783), while 497 days were put down to work-related stress or depression. Infections, which includes the common cold and flu, accounted for 518 days.

According to the report, the council had 489 members of staff during that period, compared to 496 in 2017.

Joseph Holmes, strategic director, said the council average was rtoughly in line with other authorities.

Winchester City Council has been approached for comment.