CITY of York Council spent more than a million pounds over budget in health and adult social care services last year - as the area faced funding challenges.

And the number of sick days taken by staff working in adult social care is “incredibly high” at more than 14 days a year, a council meeting heard.

Earlier in the year the department had been on track to go £3m over budget but staff worked hard to reduce the overspend.

An extra £405,000 was spent on learning disability placement, £272,000 more was spent on nursing care and the department’s budget for supported living for people with disabilities went £695,000 over budget.

The costs were mainly down to more people needing help than anticipated as well as a rise in prices.

The council made savings in other areas - but the meeting heard that reducing the overspend had been “quite a challenge”.

Sharon Houlden, the council’s director of health, housing and adult social care, called for more teamwork between departments to meet the address the issues: “You can clearly see that adult social care has got some financial challenges that perhaps other departments don’t have and that’s an example of how we focus on something very much in terms of individual departments and not necessarily in terms of collaborating.”

Cllr Paul Doughty, chairman of health and adult social care committee, highlighted the number of sick days taken by staff in the department - 14.3 compared to the public sector average of 8.5.

He said: “It means almost three weeks’ sickness per year on average. That sounds a worrying number.”

Ms Houlden said work is being done to reduce sick days and a few long term absences “skewed” the figures, but added: “The average rate of sickness that you point to is incredibly high and it’s way above the public sector average.

“It’s also very high in relation to the overall council figures so it’s something that does cause me concern.”

The meeting also heard that York residents have good health, most people have jobs and the economy is “thriving”.

Cllr Doughty told Ms Houlden: “We’ve got a relatively stable healthy population, virtually full employment and a thriving economy and I think these are things that we should be really grateful for - but I’m particularly pleased that you’ve got the ambition there to build on that.”